The Locals (Hardcover)

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"Summons up a small American town at precisely the right moment in our history . . . a bold, vital, and view-expanding novel."--George Saunders

A rural working-class New England town elects as its mayor a New York hedge fund millionaire in this inspired novel for our times--fiction in the tradition of Jonathan Franzen and Jennifer Egan.

Mark Firth is a contractor and home restorer in Howland, Massachusetts, who feels opportunity passing his family by. After being swindled by a financial advisor, what future can Mark promise his wife, Karen, and their young daughter, Haley? He finds himself envying the wealthy weekenders in his community whose houses sit empty all winter.

Philip Hadi used to be one of these people. But in the nervous days after 9/11 he flees New York and hires Mark to turn his Howland home into a year-round "secure location" from which he can manage billions of dollars of other people's money. The collision of these two men's very different worlds--rural vs. urban, middle class vs. wealthy--is the engine of Jonathan Dee's powerful new novel.

Inspired by Hadi, Mark looks around for a surefire investment: the mid-decade housing boom. Over Karen's objections, and teaming up with his troubled brother, Gerry, Mark starts buying up local property with cheap debt. Then the town's first selectman dies suddenly, and Hadi volunteers for office. He soon begins subtly transforming Howland in his image--with unexpected results for Mark and his extended family.

Here are the dramas of twenty-first-century America--rising inequality, working class decline, a new authoritarianism--played out in the classic setting of some of our greatest novels: the small town. The Locals is that rare work of fiction capable of capturing a fraught American moment in real time.

Praise for The Locals

"After 9/11, New York hedge fund billionaire Philip Hadi retreats to his summer home in the Berkshires. In thrall to his new town, he runs for office to keep it sleepy, sweet and free from tax hikes. Is he benevolent, arrogant or both? No one gets off the moral hook in this propulsive, brilliantly observed study."--People (Book of the Week)

"Thoughtful . . . Jonathan Dee's] prescient sensitivity has never been more unnerving. . . . Amid the heat of today's vicious political climate, The Locals is a smoke alarm. Listen up."--Ron Charles, The Washington Post

"Captivating . . . Dee's] knowing gaze and elegant writing work well throughout The Locals, which is infused with a sense of desperation and dread. His characters are vivid, and the emotions raw."--USA Today

"Addictive reading . . . Dee] captures the deeply ingrained resentment and disillusion that seem to define the present moment. . . . Like the novels of Jonathan Franzen, The Locals confidently sutures broad social travails with individual destinies."--The Wall Street Journal

About the Author


Jonathan Dee is the author of six previous novels, most recently A Thousand Pardons. His novel The Privileges was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize and winner of the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald and the St. Francis College Literary Prize. A former contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a senior editor of The Paris Review, and a National Magazine Award-nominated literary critic for Harper's, he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He lives in Syracuse, New York.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780812993226
ISBN-10: 0812993225
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: August 8th, 2017
Pages: 400
Language: English