Friday 11 June 2021

Very Nice

Finished June 6 
Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky

This novel is set around a young writer, who had a successful first novel and is trying to find a way forward, one of his students, the student's family, and the writer's friends and acquaintances. 
The writer is Zahid Azzam, a man rebelling from his mother's expectations, dealing with the loss of his grandmother, struggling financially, and facing writer's block. Zahid has just finished a teaching contract at a university in New York City and, because he must return to India to see his dying grandmother, leaves his dog with one of his students temporarily. He has sublet his apartment, and made a foolish personal choice. When he returns to the U.S. sooner than anticipated, he must find somewhere to stay, try to overcome his writer's block to fulfill his new book contract, and consider his future.
His student, Rachel Klein, is young, nineteen, and has a summer job at a kid's day camp. She is staying at her childhood home in Connecticut with her mother Becca, whom her father left recently for a younger woman. Part of the reason she agreed to look after the dog was that the family dog of the same breed recently died.
Becca is a schoolteacher, so has the summer off. She is still grieving the loss of her dog, Poppy, and this new dog that her daughter has brought home, becomes a replacement for that dog in many ways. When Zahid arrives, Becca invites him to stay and a dynamic begins with these three characters. 
The supporting characters of Rachel's father, Zahid's subletter and her sister, and the brother of one of the children in Rachel's camp all have important roles in this plot as well.
This is a story of impulse and regret, of resentment and jealousy, of the ways in which people are focused on their own needs instead of those of the people around them. 

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