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The new novel from the acclaimed poet and publisher asks fundamental questions about love and sex, friendship and rivalry, desire and power, and the age-old dance of benevolence and attraction between teacher and student.
Sam Brandt is a long-term denizen of Connecticut’s renowned Leverett School. As an English teacher he has dedicated his life to providing his students with the same challenges, encouragement, and sense of possibility that helped him and his friends become themselves here half a lifetime ago.
Then Leverett’s headmaster asks Sam to help investigate a charge brought by one of his classmates that he was abused by a teacher. Sam is flooded with memories, above all of his overwhelming love for his friend Eddie and the support of his most inspiring mentor, Theodore Gibson.
Sam’s search for the truth becomes a quest to get at the heart of Leverett, then and now. The school has changed enormously over the years, but at its core lie assumptions about privilege and responsibility untested for more than a century. And Sam’s assumptions about his own life are shaken, too, as he struggles to understand what really happened all those years ago.
About the Author
Jonathan Galassi is the chairman of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He is a former poetry editor for the Paris Review, a former chairman of the Academy of American Poets, and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship for poetry. His poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Threepenny Review, and The Nation. He has published three books of poetry and translations of the poetry of Eugenio Montale, Giacomo Leopardi, and Primo Levi. His first novel, Muse, was published in 2015.
“Galassi’s understated style and economical prose are well suited to this elegiac story…A thoughtful exploration of the lingering effects of repressed sexual identity.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Sink your teeth into something salacious and meaningful with this novel.” —Nylon
“In School Days, Jonathan Galassi gives us a novel of change, loss, and liberation. It’s a look at a private school in the 1960s, a world of privilege and erudition on the cusp of upheaval. But it’s also the story of a man finding his hard-won truth, a gift that enables him to clearly see his boyhood friends—and himself—for the first time. Brilliant, wise, and wistful.” —Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Good Boy
“Nostalgia, desire, and the treachery of long-held secrets collide in this absorbing psychological mystery set amid the casual cruelties of privilege and youth. Though no one is murdered, heroes are toppled, illusions shattered, and Galassi’s protagonist unearths not just a scandal but painful truths all his own. This is the kind of satisfying story whose final revelations send you rushing right back to the start.” —Julia Glass, National Book Award–winning author of Three Junes and Vigil Harbor
Praise for Muse:
“A bravura first novel…Compelling…Galassi propels his readers forward on a thought-provoking, often hilarious, bittersweet ride.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“Entertaining…Muse is many things: a satire of New York’s social world, a portrait of publishing that is both love song and takedown, and an intriguing mystery.” —New York Times Book Review
“A testament to the purity of the written word, and the turmoil that can be required to get it on paper.” —The New Yorker