by Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought
"Smart ... always fascinating ... The novel's biggest concern is how we construct personal narratives that accommodate slippery and unsteady acts of memory." -- A.P.D. Lawrie, Times Literary Supplement
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Oliver Vice, forty-one, prominent philosopher, scholar, and art collector, is missing and presumed dead, over the side of Queen Mary 2. Troubled by his friend's possible suicide, the unnamed narrator of Douglas' new novel launches an all-consuming investigation into Vice's life history. Douglas, moving backward through time, tells a mordantly humorous story of fascination turned obsession, as his narrator peels back the layers of the Vice family's rich and bizarre history. Pursuing the truth from New York to London, from Budapest to Portugal, he remains oblivious to the irony of the search: that in his need to understand Vice's life, he is really grappling with ambivalence about his own.