a novel by Jay Neugeboren
ISBN: 978-1-956440-73-7 paperback $21.95
ISBN: 978-1-956440-74-4 ebook $9.99
February 20, 2024
A troubled marriage—and love story—set against the background of the AIDS pandemic, and the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq lie at the heart of After Camus. Saul Davidoff and Tolle Riordan, who meet during a protest against the Vietnam War, marry, live through the Plague Years of the AIDS epidemic, raise a family … and burn out. Camus is a hero to both of them: Tolle, a young dancer and choreographer, has a liaison with him in Paris shortly before his death; Saul, inspired by Camus’s The Plague, becomes an infectious disease (and AIDS) doctor … and Camus becomes a ghostly presence central to our story.
Hoping to repair their marriage, Tolle and Saul return to a village in the South of France where they lived when they were first in love, and where Camus lived when recovering from a siege of tuberculosis. The novel draws a vivid portrait of a marriage that spans a series of historical events: from the Vietnam war through the AIDs epidemic and Gulf War, to the Iraq War and the advent of the right wing Le Pen movement in France.
After Camus is both a fictional meditation on recent history and a compelling tale of how various forms of love and friendship do and do not survive in times of social and political upheaval. In this novel of enchantments, internationally acclaimed author Jay Neugeboren is at the peak of his powers as a master storyteller.
JAY NEUGEBOREN is the author of 22 books, including five prize-winning novels, four collections of award-winning stories, and two prize-winning books of non-fiction. His stories and essays have appeared widely—in The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Scholar, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Ploughshares, Tablet, and Commonweal, among others, and have been reprinted in more than 50 anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, and is the only author to have won six consecutive Syndicated Fiction Prizes. His archive is housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Center in Austin, Texas.
Praise for After Camus:
You need real courage to write Albert Camus as a fictional character. Jay Neugeboren, one of the best American writers of the 20th century and doing even better work in the 21st, has what it takes and more.
—Madison Smart Bell, author of All Souls’ Rising, The Haiti Trilogy, and other books
I am in this book’s target audience: the world conjured by the words: Paris, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Café de Flore sparked my imagination when I was seventeen and Albert Camus (well, his memory!) was a college crush. This elegant, passionate book will expand my circle: It thrusts mid-twentieth century people, places, and ideas into the complexities of our moment—they shine anew!
—Sherry Turkle, Professor MIT, author of Reclaiming Conversation and The Empathy Diaries
After Camus offers the consolations of philosophy, the conflicts of history and the conflagrations of sex. Jay Neugeboren has written a heady, powerful novel.
—Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Constructing a Nervous System and Negroland