There Must Be Some Mistake (Hardcover)

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A fiftyish graphic designer forced into retirement discovers, via a parade of unlikely events, that it may still be a lovely day in the neighborhood, by "the master of the low-key epiphany." (The New Yorker)
Wallace Webster lives alone in Kemah, Texas at Forgetful Bay, a condo development where residents are passing away at an alarming rate. As he monitors events in the neighborhood, Wallace keeps in touch with his ex-wife, his grown daughter, a former coworker for whom he has much averted eyes, and a somewhat exotic resident with whom he commences an off-beat affair.
He sifts through the curious accidents that plague his neighbors, all the while reflecting on his past and shortening future. Required to reflect upon his own mortality, he wonders if "settling for" something less than he aspired to is a kind of cowardice, or just good sense.
Beneath the arresting repartee and the ever-present and often satisfying banality of our modern lives--from Google searches to real life mysteries on TV--lies Frederick Barthelme's affection for and curiosity about our human condition. THERE MUST BE SOME MISTAKE is warm and wry, beautifully written, and completely irresistible.

About the Author

Frederick Barthelme is the author of fourteen previous books of fiction. Until 2010, he directed the writing program at the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi Review. He now edits New World Writing, an online magazine started in 1995.

Praise For…

Praise for There Must Be Some Mistake

"Frederick Barthelme's books are a little jazzy, written in a minor key, like tunes that fool you by seeming to be simple enough to hum, until you realize that you can't mimic the melody. . . . There Must Be Some Mistake is a little miracle of faith, shown to us with an eye-opening attention to some of the glorious, perhaps even redemptive details of our dumbed-down so-called culture."—Ann Beattie

"There Must Be Some Mistake is so warm and funny-here is an appealing character with a sly wit who embraces life fully even while knee-deep in our dreary cultural junk, with an undercurrent of Scandinavian noir. Who but Frederick Barthelme could pull this off? The writing is superb. I wanted the story to go on and on."—Bobbie Ann Mason, author of The Girl in the Green Beret

"Very nearly alone among his peers, Frederick Barthelme has, over the last thirty-five years, written fiction about what it actually feels like to live in contemporary post-religious, hyper-mediated America. And-even more of a rarity-he works hard to find a way to somehow tolerate/celebrate, with enormous subtlety and without an ounce of sentimentality, our bare-bones existence. In There Must Be Some Mistake, Barthelme has distilled his brutal, crucial vision into useable essence."—David Shields, author of How Literature Changed My Life

"Sublime... Barthelme seems to argue, we might still find a separate peace from the terrors of the wider world."

Esquire (on Waveland)

"Frederick Barthelme has always been a master at cramming a lot of meaning into a small space...with precision and wit."—Jack Pendarvis, New York Times Book Review (on Waveland)

"Barthelme's writing is so good I'd follow Elroy to a paint-drying festival."—Bruce Barcott, New York Times Book Review (on Elroy Nights)

"Rick Barthelme's take on Americana--dryly funny, despairing, caustic--is also deeply affectionate. There is something memorable and enviable in every one of these stories."—Amy Hempel (on The Law of Averages)

"Their redemption is the book itself, in which shell shock is transfigured by literary grace."—David Gates, Newsweek (on Double Down)

"Double Down is one of the best firsthand accounts ever written about organized gambling....The compulsion to control, to intuit the future, to be painted by magic, could not be better or more accurately described."—James Lee Burke

"It's impossible to conceive of any writer doing what he does any better than he does it."—Margaret Atwood, New York Times Book Review (on Moon Deluxe)

"The master of the low-key epiphany."—The New Yorker

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316231244
ISBN-10: 031623124X
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014
Pages: 304
Language: English