Read The Slippage by Ben Greenman Online

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What would happen if you invited Lorrie Moore, Mona Simpson, Tom Perrotta, and Steven Wright to a suburban barbecue? Something like this wry and wistful new novel of marriage, lust, and disconnection, from the author of What He's Poised to Do.William and Louisa Day are a suburban husband and wife with no children confronting the question of what their relationship means toWhat would happen if you invited Lorrie Moore, Mona Simpson, Tom Perrotta, and Steven Wright to a suburban barbecue? Something like this wry and wistful new novel of marriage, lust, and disconnection, from the author of What He's Poised to Do.William and Louisa Day are a suburban husband and wife with no children confronting the question of what their relationship means to them, and if and how it will survive. One day, after weeks of bizarre behavior-disappearing in the middle of parties, hoarding mail-Louisa approaches William with a simple appeal: "I want you to build us a house." Caught off-guard by the request, William is suddenly forced to reckon with his own hopes and desires, his growing discomfort at home and work, and, in the end, the fight-or-flight ultimatum his wife has posed for their future. Complicating these questions are the ghosts of other relationships in William's past, both ancient and recent-from the ex-girlfriend whose child is a kind of surrogate son, to his new neighbor, his partner in a recent indiscretion now uncomfortably returned to the foreground.Ben Greenman is a poet of romantic angst in contemporary American life, hailed for his whimsical yet unbearably poignant portraits of people grasping at connection through the fog of crumbling relationships. The Slippage is an emotionally powerful work, marked by Greenman's trademark blend of yearning and mordant wit....

Title : The Slippage
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061990519
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Slippage Reviews

  • Nicholas
    2019-06-02 14:06

    Think Tom Perrotta but with little of the humor. Or Meg Wolitzer or Julia Glass but more suburban and with a lot less depth, detail, and empathy. The premise is interesting -- suburban marital ennui, and a falling apart of otherwise stable lives that begins with "the slippage" of the title -- but the book is gimmicky enough that you don't ever really feel that you know these characters. It's more like they represent people who might be experiencing all of these things, but as a reader you never gain access to the inner lives that allows you to understand how they feel about them. I believe that these sorts of things really do happen to people, but Greenman didn't make these particular people seem all that real. That makes it difficult to care about these character stand-ins, and if you don't care about them, you don't much care what happens to them. If the events described were more outlandish that might make up for the way he deals with the characters, but precisely because he is describing a scenario that we are meant to see as potentially anyone's story, it just ends up being a little bit boring.

  • Larry H
    2019-05-18 08:06

    I'd rate this 3.5, maybe 3.75 stars."The slippage is a specific thing. It's the moment when you start to lose your footing."It's hard to tell where William Day's slippage began. Was it at the party he and his wife, Louisa, threw, when she didn't come out of hiding until the very end? Was it the moment an emotionally distant Louisa revealed she had bought property with inherited money, and asked William to build her a house? Or was it the unexpected reappearance of a person with whom he had a brief relationship some time ago?Whatever was the instigator, something—or a combination of things—seems to be increasing William's discomfort with his life, his marriage, and his career, causing him to act erratically in all three aspects. And Louisa's fluctuating moods don't seem to help, although he tries taking solace in the time he spends with a former girlfriend's young son. But finally he is confronted with a major decision—build the house for Louisa or risk jeopardizing his marriage irrevocably. Meanwhile, he also has to deal with his artist brother-in-law's emotional baggage, and the increased tension of an arsonist stalking their town.Ben Greenman's The Slippage is a well-written and intriguing book about relationships, but it's also more about the things left unsaid than the things that are actually said. So often in this book the characters didn't say what they were thinking or feeling, or didn't divulge the truth about a particular situation, which often led to misunderstandings or caused the characters to act in ways they might not ordinarily. At times I found myself wondering what the characters were really thinking, or what was motivating them to act the way they were, and that confused me occasionally. But these pauses, these secrets really made the situations Greenman wrote about seem more true-to-life.I really enjoyed Greenman's storytelling ability, and thought for the most part, William was a really compelling character, although at times he, too, was a little more mysterious than I thought he'd be. But I found Louisa's character fairly unlikeable, and in fact, Louisa's actions toward the end of the book seemed somewhat out of character, so I wasn't sure if we were to take her at face value. Still, Greenman's voice is an enjoyable one, and I plan to go back and explore some of his earlier story collections to see the depth of his talent.

  • Lorri Steinbacher
    2019-06-06 10:13

    Greenman deftly writes about suburban marital ennui. The concept of slippage really interested me. At what point, once you lose your footing, can you right yourself. William seems to float through his life making daily bargains with himself just to get through. His marriage is stagnant, his wife trying to reinvigorate them by insisting on a new house. William takes comfort in the house that they live in, comfort if not joy. In fact, joy is conspicuously absent in this book. All the characters are angsty, none of the action serves to move anyone toward happiness or satisfaction (view spoiler)[(except for maybe William's cold cocking his boss) (hide spoiler)]. Still trying to figure out if I left the book depressed or not. I certainly left the book wondering about my own suburban existence.

  • Joyland Magazine
    2019-05-24 10:10

    Listen to Ben's appearance on our podcast, Truth & Fiction, where he discusses suburbia and the origins of The Slippage. http://www.joylandmagazine.com/brian_...

  • Ti
    2019-06-03 10:02

    The Short of It:A fractured, splintered view of a marriage in decline.The Rest of It:When I first saw the title of this book I was immediately reminded of California earthquake faults and how they slip and slide every ten years to give us a good jolt of reality. Oddly enough, that’s kinda what this book is about. Marriage, on the brink of disaster and how the fissures eventually become full-on cracks if you let them run their course.William and Louisa Day live in suburban bliss. Nice house, great neighborhood, interesting neighbors. One afternoon, while hosting one of his famous parties, William realizes that Louisa hasn’t come out to greet their guests. After trying to juggle his meet and greet duties along with cooking the food they are about to eat he goes in search of Louisa and finds her locked in their junk room. Forced to talk to her through the door, she seems okay but refuses to come out and only comes out after her drunk brother shows up and causes quite the scene.Shortly after the party, Louisa tells William that she’s bought a plot of land and wants him to build her a new house. This innocent and somewhat far-fetched request triggers introspection but when an old flame of William’s moves into their neighborhood and rekindles what they started long ago, William’s not really sure what he wants.The book opens with the party scene and within just a few pages, I was hooked. William is one of those funny, sarcastic guys that people don’t really pay attention to. His humor, if you can call it that, inserts itself innocently but the people on the other side of it rarely pick-up on his sarcasm. As he plods through life, you willingly follow along because although he’s a cheater and seems clueless about what his wife wants, he’s somehow more human than say the “suits” that he has to deal with at work or the guy next door or down the street.As much as I love stories like this one, I had some trouble with Louisa. In one sense, she appears to be the voice of reason but her odd behavior, hiding behind closed doors and hoarding junk mail made me wonder if she was a little off. The other thing that bothered me is that William and Louisa hardly interact at all. Their interactions are short and abbreviated and her comments about anything had a throwaway quality to them. As if she was saying them just to say something. Perhaps, that is what a marriage in decline is like, but there was no heat… no tension. I expected there to be lots of it given the fact that their marriage was on the line. To me, they were looking at each other through a broken mirror. Their images greatly exaggerated and skewed.After finishing the book, I concluded that all the women in the book seemed a little off. I couldn’t relate to any of them and found myself relating more to William which surprised me. As negative as that may sound, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit. Greenman’s take on suburbia was spot on. That party scene alone won me over and the wry humor made what could have been a very depressing novel, somewhat comical.It’s not perfect, but what marriage is? If you’re like me and want to read something a little different this summer, give this one a try. It will give you a lot to think about.For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter.

  • Katherine
    2019-06-04 09:51

    *Really 1.5 stars. I was surprsied. Neither very good, nor very interesting." 'I'm trying to figure out how to make things work now. If I do that, then the future's just the sound of that same note sustaining.'" 'That's beautiful,' Karla said. The idea was something William had acquired from a magazine, which didn't make it less beautiful" (50)." 'As Kepler said,' Tom said, "the untrained eye is an idiot" " (58)."She forced capital letters onto the last few words" (71)."…and he moved side to side to hang it [the moon] in the center of the pane" (71)."William was increasingly convinced that he was a man of limits" (71)."Adjacent yards supplied the sound of children" (74)."Coming down in the plane over Chicago William read the city as a text, each block a paragraph, each building a word. What did that make the people? Characters, maybe" (84)."…the crass cathedral of the convention hall" (85)."The small band was stuck wetly in the middle of 'How Long Has This Been Going On?'" (88).*So far, I'm unimpressed with the dialogue and much of the description. It seems either overwritten or too cute. Maybe that's the point? Somehow, I don't think so.*But then I come across more wonderful passages like:"Approximate hospitality was better than none at all" (104)." 'It's a virtuous circle'" (105)."More precisely, he thought of what they weren't seeing: they weren't seeing the trivial details of the day, the things that had to be moved into close range so that they would seem significant at all" (106)."He showed a high percentage of teeth" (109)."Much of life turned out to be a test of how much you could forget without losing the thread entirely" (117)."Others finished out a bottle of chocolate syrup while they watched a movie about those people" (133)."Even Fitch's emails fidgeted" (137)." 'I know it like the back of my own hand, if my hand had lots of clearance sales'" (140)." 'Think about fire, though. There's this absurd idea that it needs people to set it. It's so much older than we are, so much more basic to the planet. We have our human creativity, but it pales in comparison to what fire does. It destroys other things and creates more of itself'" (151)." 'No,' William said. 'I'm conducting an experiment to see how entitled and oblivious people are'" (163)."There was no rain yet, but the sky was the same color as most of the tombstones" (179)." 'It's just that some time I like to get away. It gives me perspective. You know: see how the other half of my mind lives'" (193)."He tried to rouse her with planning. He spread an oversize sheet of graph paper on the kitchen table" (201)."His rheumy eyes suggested an almost comic sense of self-doubt" (204).

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-31 07:54

    The world seems to shrink when one wakes up and realizes that they are middle aged and have not accomplished all that they have set out to do. They feel suffocated by the stagnant repetition of everyday life and nothing seems to inspire them. The world seems to tip and their feet begin to slip as if they are losing their grip on reality. A quest is sought out to remedy this situation that often leads to misadventure and sadness. It takes a person to a place that they may have not wished they had ever gone to, but it is too late to turn back from. This book is about one such couple feeling this losing battle of reality. It is a story of William and Louisa Day, who find themselves in an unusual position. They are at a point where time has seem to stop for their relationship and a slippage has started to occur. Louisa has given her husband an opportunity to restore their future and reset the clock on their faith in one another by taking over a project for her. This project is to restore and rebuild a home that she purchased with money that she inherited from an estate. Not sure how to approach the situation, William encounters many cross roads along his decision to accept or decline this proposal. Soon he finds himself reacquainted with an old flame. Old emotions are visited and old desires are met. Will William create a home for Louisa and himself to grow old in? Will William choose to move on with someone else?I have to first say that the author of the book is very talented and wrote with great detail. The characters seemed very life like for me and could have been my next door neighbor if I imagined it. The personalities of the characters were well developed and the history was clearly defined. I enjoyed this very much and it made the book easy to follow. Having said that I must say that I found the book overall to be rather slow for me. I thought that Louisa was an overbearing woman and William himself was an arrogant fool that could not stay faithful to his partner. I grew to actually despise William by the middle of the book and could not force myself to read it any farther. Many things were a little melodramatic for me and I found Louisa to be over the top. Either way I grew tired of the story. I do however want to thank the author and goodreads since I won this book in a giveaway. I was asked to give my honest opinion and I can say that it is not a bad book, it is just not my style of reading

  • Uwe Hook
    2019-06-02 11:02

    "The slippage is a specific thing. It's the moment when you start to lose your footing."It's hard to tell where William Day's slippage began. Was it at the party he and his wife, Louisa, threw, when she didn't come out of hiding until the very end? Was it the moment an emotionally distant Louisa revealed she had bought property with inherited money, and asked William to build her a house? Or was it the unexpected reappearance of a person with whom he had a brief relationship some time ago?Whatever was the instigator, something--or a combination of things--seems to be increasing William's discomfort with his life, his marriage, and his career, causing him to act erratically in all three aspects. And Louisa's fluctuating moods don't seem to help, although he tries taking solace in the time he spends with a former girlfriend's young son. But finally he is confronted with a major decision--build the house for Louisa or risk jeopardizing his marriage irrevocably. Meanwhile, he also has to deal with his artist brother-in-law's emotional baggage, and the increased tension of an arsonist stalking their town.Ben Greenman's The Slippage is a well-written and intriguing book about relationships, but it's also more about the things left unsaid than the things that are actually said. So often in this book the characters didn't say what they were thinking or feeling, or didn't divulge the truth about a particular situation, which often led to misunderstandings or caused the characters to act in ways they might not ordinarily. At times I found myself wondering what the characters were really thinking, or what was motivating them to act the way they were, and that confused me occasionally. But these pauses, these secrets really made the situations Greenman wrote about seem more true-to-life.I really enjoyed Greenman's storytelling ability, and thought for the most part, William was a really compelling character, although at times he, too, was a little more mysterious than I thought he'd be. But I found Louisa's character fairly unlikeable, and in fact, Louisa's actions toward the end of the book seemed somewhat out of character, so I wasn't sure if we were to take her at face value. Still, Greenman's voice is an enjoyable one, and I plan to go back and explore some of his earlier story collections to see the depth of his talent.

  • Shani
    2019-05-17 07:21

    "William had been keeping two secrets..." I was intrigued by this story, and while the writing was very good, I just couldn't get into the characters enough to care about what happened to them. I was really intrigued by the title, and a piece of the book that talked about graphic representation. I wish the author used this more (though I found more used in the notes at the end of the book that I think should been included in the text itself)."Lunch was the spine of the day. Everything else moved away from it in both directions, at a constant speed.""'The slippery slope is for politicians and propagandists. The slippage is a specific thing. It's the moment when you start to lose your footing.'""...'any graph is a set of expectations. It tells you what's normal and what's exceptional, where there are gains and losses. But what if you suddenly find that you're plotting all your data on a graph that's coming loose? ...The slippage isn't the moment when a graph turns upward or downard. It's the moment when it turns on you.""'Well, you know how you start life alongside everyone else and then, when you're young, detach from the mainland? You drift out on your little floe. At first it's exciting. Then it's scary. Then you look and see that all around you there are other people on floes of their own. They look close to each other, because they're far from you. If you could get close enough, you would see that they're all feeling the same terror. But you can't get close enough.'"

  • Paolo Aceves
    2019-06-01 14:20

    In order to enjoy a book, the reader has to somehow connect with the story in some level, and this is partly why I did not enjoy this book too much. There was a good story in there; just I did not associate with the material. I'm (I hope) far too young to relate with the main character of The Slippage; a middle age man going through (go figure) a mid-life crisis. William goes through most of the common clichés of the midlife crisis checkpoints: Anger expressed in outburst of violence (check) infidelity (check) losing his job (check) feelings of loneliness and/or misunderstood (check), projecting (check). The only cliché left out was buying a new sports car.Another issue with this book was the slow pace of the narrative, it takes too long to set up the story, the first third of the book is entirely devoted on the set up, on the main character figuring trying to figure out what is wrong with his wife, and then through a flashback the story starts taking place and it gets easier to follow, but it still not a great payoff after all that slow set up. Maybe in a few years this book will be relevant to me, but at the moment the material felt inconsequential.

  • Lana
    2019-06-14 06:20

    **I received a copy of The Slippage as a Goodreads giveaway.**Greenman has written a story that is centered on conflict. Professionally, the protagonist is dealing with the stress of the corporate world. Personally, he is caught in a stagnant, childless marriage where an affair becomes a natural consequence. It is not the storyline that captivated me as a reader, as it is a plot that repeats itself often in literature. It is the writing that kept me turning the page. Greenman takes single moments, common to us all, and describes them in uncommon ways--a glass leaves "a series of circles that reminded him of cartoon thought bubbles", a woman is "sending up bright little flares of laughter", "William's week was a series of holes he could not fill, and he had to be careful not to fall into them."The Slippage is an ordinary story that is told in an extraordinary way. I highly recommend it.

  • L
    2019-06-07 14:18

    Easy and gentle to read, this book seemed to pass through my mind like a pleasant dream. The writing lulled me into something akin to a trance, broken up only by the occasional, brilliant turn of phrase. And there were many of those.I liked the main character, William. He came across as witty in a dry and slightly sarcastic kind of way. This said, I didn't understand him, whatsoever. Or Louisa, his wife. Or Tom, his brother-in-law. Or the neighbors across the street. Their actions weren't authentic, but instead what you'd imagine a character in a book would do.The plot coursed on, aimless. I couldn't really tell where it was going or why; but all of that was okay because I wasn't having a bad time with the book. At the end, though, it kind of bothered me. And also in retrospect.Not a bad read but not a good one, either. It's entertaining enough while it's happening but don't expect to take anything from it.

  • Brian Grover
    2019-06-09 09:06

    Solid, if unspectacular. A quiet snapshot of a pair of quiet lives, it feels (mostly) real enough, and the dialogue has plenty of pop. However, I have some issues here. One, the two main female characters (the wife and the mistress) talk almost identically; I'd have appreciated a clearer division of major characters. Two, the guy (William) is just a little too glib. Greenman would have done well to make him a little less comfortable, a little less quick.As an aside, it's patently ridiculous how he and his mistress reconnect, but that's a flub you just have to write off and move on from.

  • Corrin
    2019-05-22 08:54

    Started our a 2-star book for me, and if I made a practice of abandoning books, I might have done so. I am, despite plenty of terrible books, still a literary optimist, I guess, and this book improved greatly in the second half. Not a light-hearted read, that's for sure. The characters all came across as slightly unformed, and in the first half seemed to act randomly, without motivation. Greenman does tackle some Big Ideas that are slightly depressibg, really, but interesting. No new ground, though.I am intrigued to read some of his other work after reading the interview w/Greenman. And I love his charts.

  • Michael
    2019-06-01 13:10

    I NEVER been the one that shared the majority opinion on life, in particular books. Rather I am the one that will disagree with the most popular vote,but in this case, this book was outnumbered by the ones that liked it. In the beginning of the book, it did not make a lick of sense, from the undefined plot to the poor characterization. It was crappy from the start, I should have trusted my instincts before I decided to give this book a shot.Forgettable, trite, and a sloppy mess.EPIC FAIL!!!

  • Tiffin-Seneca Public Library
    2019-05-26 13:53

    The story centers on William Day, who seems like your typical suburban professional. He lives with his wife, Louisa, and pretty much makes it through life one day at a time. But he must deal with a loss of control in his life once his wife shows him the plot of land where she wants to build a home. One by one, things start happening that threaten to unravel his life. This is a very well done novel about a dysfunctional marriage.

  • Joanne
    2019-06-14 09:12

    Another one for the started did not finish shelf. It was a present and not one I would have chosen, clearly the author was having some kind of mid life crisis. the main male character was such a sad sack who had a rather un-original affair, lost his job, he and his wife don't communicate anymore yada yada yada. BORING!

  • Seth
    2019-06-09 11:11

    I really like Ben Greenman's sense of humor (at least as it presents itself within his writing) as combines cleverness, sharpness, and yet also a senes of warm-heartedness. The Slippage had those qualities but the overall plot arc didn't have quite enough oomph for me. But it worked as a nice, fast cloudy day read.

  • Erik
    2019-06-06 13:01

    This book was pretty good - it had passages that were extremely well written, but in the end was a long description of relationship ennui. About halfway through I was really into it, but by the end didn't feel the same way, although the interview and author comments afterwards did lend it some increased gravity, so there was that.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-18 11:20

    It was ok. I was shocked at how upset William got at the end of the book when Louisa made her big announcement, considering what he'd been up to. Overall I didn't really like the characters. I just wanted to reach into the book and slap them and yell, wake up. Louisa's brother Tom was a comical addition to the book. I liked his graphs.

  • Laurie
    2019-05-25 11:54

    There wasn't anybody likable (or all that believable) in the whole book. Of course I didn't realize that until about halfway through, so I finished it. It wasn't the WORST waste of time, but not too far off!

  • Julie
    2019-05-21 09:56

    2.5 William and Louisa are a young married couple with no children, living in the suburbs. The "slippage" begins when William has a one night stand, and continues when he loses his job and doesn't tell Louisa. I found the concept interesting, but the characters were not interesting, nor likable.

  • Donna
    2019-05-23 07:09

    Got this as a giveaway from GR and brought it to read on vacation. Couldn't make it past the first chapter. Everything about it seemed so cliche and over-written. I hate to abandon books but I just couldn't finish.

  • Jeri Mihm
    2019-05-31 06:53

    BlahBoring. I could not connect with any of the characters in this story. Everyone in this book is unhappy and I did not like any of them. The dialog and behaviors were not believable. Two stars only because I did finish the book.

  • Linda
    2019-06-07 14:01

    2.5

  • Angeles
    2019-05-20 09:59

    Marriage: Love + lust + infidelity?This seems to be a somewhat honest look at the dishonesty within a marriage. Nothing spectacular or moving, nothing thrilling or particularly poignant.

  • Skyler
    2019-05-24 10:07

    I liked it around a 3.75. Beautifully written, maybe deserves a 4.

  • Kathleen Powers
    2019-05-22 07:18

    Horrible book. Don't waste your time or money. Poorly written with pathetic characters.

  • Jonathan Horowitz
    2019-06-12 08:14

    Meh, nothing new, vaguely intriguing at times, but not as much as you could feel the author wanting it to be...

  • Penney
    2019-06-03 08:07

    An attempt to normalize poor adult decision making left me not caring about any characters.