First Ed thus; First Printing indicated. Very Good+ in Wraps: shows indications of very careful use: light wear to extremities, with faint creases near the top and bottom corners of the front panel; mild rubbing to wrapper covers; binding square and secure; text clean. Remains close to 'As New'. NOT a Remainder, Book-Club, or Ex-Library. 8vo. 212pp. Trade Paperback. Books about white male mid-life crisis have become a genre unto themselves. In "Natural Selection, " Barthelme applies his minimalist style to yet another entry in this genus: the story of the 40-year-old, once-divorced, twice-married husband and father Peter Wexler. This 1990 novel will probably be remembered for its unexpectedly shocking climax, but it is satire of the media-manufactured epidemic of middle-age malaise. Wexler, who without really trying or caring has become successful at a meaningless job he despises in a public relations firm, has a wonderful wife and an understanding son, but he's deeply unhappy with the world. His anger and depression is unfocused but it's usually set off by little things: "a guy at the office for lying, or somebody on TV for a specious argument, or a politician for unscrupulous ads, or a magazine article riddled with manipulative distortions." After failing to keep his promise to his wife and son to stop complaining so much, he moves into separate quarters, with both comic and tragic consequences. Deciding a change of scenery might help put his life back in order, Peter leaves his wonderful wife and their ten-year-old son in search of a resolution to the confusion, estrangement, fatigue, and adultery that have confounded his life. Natural Selection is an intimate novel about a man getting smart, and getting there a little later than he should have. It's caustic and subtle, funny, charming, deeply melancholy, and more than anything else, true.
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