HAVING EVERYTHING
by John L'Heureux

Publisher:  Grove Atlantic

Pub Date:  Fall 2000 and Spring 2001

Format:   Hardcover and Trade Paperback

Brief Description
A dark, literary thriller by the legendary teacher at the Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford University, a man the San Francisco Chronicle says "should be a household name."
(see below for Full Description)

 

 

 

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Endorsements
"John L'Heureux is one of the truly valuable writers of his generation."
--O. Henry Awards

"John L'Heureux is a magnificent hold-out.  In an age of tour-de-force technique, three-ring-circus virtuosity, L'Heureux builds stories the way the Shakers built chairs; in an age which has cut the imagination free, an age of hippogriffs and seven-legged maidens, L'Heureux sits, stodgy as old Chekhov, observing real human beings and putting them on paper, pore by pore...  A wise writer, with a wisdom as old as the hills."
--John Gardner

"A moving book about the strange zones of intersection between love and cruelty--from one of our finest writers."
--Scott Turow (on Shrine)

"A writer who picks up his readers by the scruff of the neck and won't let them go."
--Chicago Tribune

"A Master storyteller...elegant, cunning, and wickedly funny."
--The Washington Post


Reviews

[for HAVING EVERYTHING]
"In his fourteenth novel, L'Heureux shines a light on the dark side of a supremely accomplished man's life....L'Heureux is a masterful prose stylist who creates full-bodied, flawed characters enmeshed in life's problems." --Booklist

"Having Everything is a gracefully written, painfully familiar look at adulthood.  The writing is so sharp and clear, in fact, that Having Everything is an Andrew Wyech painting of a novel, in which every gesture, every blade of grass cuts through in some emotion, traveling a distance from skin to heart that could exist only after at least four decades of life..."
--Los Angeles Times

"A master of understated, ominous moments in a marriage in which not asking a question can be more disastrous than asking it. . . . Sharp, moving, poignant."
--Washington Post Book World

"John L'Heureux is perhaps today's most frightening novelist because his characters, for all their strange behavior, are not freaks or misfits. They are the people we see and know. . . . Having Everything is an unforgettable exploration of what it means to become fully human."
--Seattle Times

"A master of spoof and irony . . . As the book moves forward to a conclusion that readers will sense is going to be catastrophic, it is impossible to stop turning its pages."
--Washington Times.

"Witty and interesting"
--Kirkus Reviews


[for THE MIRACLE]
"A wry but revelatory look at the connection between faith and love . . .L'Heureux's strength is his ability to expose the all-too-human foibles and flaws of his outstanding ensemble cast, as he connects the dots with short, punchy scenes that instantly get to the heart of the matter. As usual, L'Heureux also looks unflinchingly at a variety of tough moral issues, balancing the serious stuff with humor in a deceptively light style that makes this book entertaining as well as challenging. . . . A balanced, wise book built around the life of a priest in a time when the clerical profession is under attack from a wide array of critics."
--Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

"A finely crafted story of a young priest's crisis of faith (and love) is the latest success from . . . L'Heureux. Anybody who was ordained in the 1960s faced pretty stiff casualty rates from the start, and Father LeBlanc-idealistic, intellectual, liberal, and more than a tad na´ve-is the sort who is bound to find Church life hard going at the best of times. . . . . [He] has to decide whether he should remain a priest-and what he wants to do if he leaves-and, more importantly, whether he still believes in God.  Deeply moving and personal, told with great restraint and skill."
--Kirkus Reviews
(starred review)

[for AN HONORABLE PROFESSION]
Brilliant and complex...A deeply ambitious novelist...who isn't afraid of dealing with dark themes and what it means to be fully human, especially in the frightening and ecstatic world we create behind the darkened bedroom walls."
--The New York Times Book Review

"An Honorable Profession is a novel about survival both personal and professional, not merely that but survival with dignity and self-respect.  It is itself an honorable novel."
--The Washington Post Book World

[for A WOMAN RUN MAD]
"Remind[s] one of Iris Murdoch, or Muriel Spark, or E. M. Forster. Yet A Woman Run Mad is unlike any novel I know . . . unusual intelligence and personality are alive throughout the book."
--New York Times Book Review.

"Witty and literate . . . Grand Guignol for grown-ups."
--Newsweek

"Unless you have no interest in passions, the edge of madness, forbidden obsessions, runaway libidos and dangerous desires Woman Run Mad will fascinate you, from its title to its perfect final sentence. . . . A thinking man's Fatal Attraction."
--Chicago Sun-Times

"Normality -- as our time understands the word -- and monstrosity are L'Heureux's poles, and he joins them with extraordinary dexterity. . . . The ending is not to be revealed."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A superior suspense story . . . It is the kind of story that might well have appealed to a writer like Patricia Highsmith, a drama of interlocking obsessions."
--The New York Times


[for THE SHRINE AT ALTA MIRA]
"A powerfully effective piece of drama."
--The New York Times Book Review


Full Description:
        Philip Tate is a man who has everything -- youth, looks, a beautiful wife and perfect family, a distinguished deanship at Harvard. Having Everything is the story of a nighttime drive that leads Philip to jeopardize it all for a moment's flirtation with the forbidden. For on that drive he will collide with the Kizers -- beautiful, troubled Dixie and brilliant, kinky Hal. By stepping, without knocking, into the Kizers' house and into the midst of their sad marriage, Philip sets in motion the near ruin -- and perhaps the salvation -- of his entire world. Fierce, ironic, and beautifully told, Having Everything reminds us that sometimes -- in marriage, and in life -- having everything is not enough.

(from Amazon)
      Had Diogenes lived today, instead of searching for an honest man, he would have been swinging his lantern in hopes of hitting a well-balanced psychiatrist. Or so fiction would generally have one believe. Psychiatrists in novels generally fall into one of two categories: they are either cold, insensitive, and all-around clueless when it comes to their nearest and dearest (see
Fear of Flying's Benjamin Wing) or they are wackier than their patients--often in dark and twisted ways. Philip Tate, the hero of John L'Heureux's Having Everything, belongs to this second group. Married to a beautiful woman, the father of two terrific children, and recently appointed to a prestigious position at Harvard Medical School, Tate would seem to have an ideal existence. Too ideal, of course, or there'd be nothing to write a novel about:

They had everything, their kids and their lives and their health, and they were good-looking, with enough money, and they loved one another--didn't they?--and yet they were wrecking it, somehow, in spite of themselves.

Tate's wife, Maggie, it seems, is an alcoholic. And Tate himself struggles with the compulsion to break into stranger's houses; one night, he goes too far, breaking into a colleague's house with consequences that will haunt him through the rest of the novel. In Having Everything, L'Heureux suggests that success is only skin deep, and demonstrates how difficult it really is to have it all.


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