Desperate Characters

Desperate Characters

Book - 1970
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Otto and Sophie Bentwood live in a changing neighborhood in Brooklyn. Their stainless steel sink is new, their Mercedes is parked at the curb. But when Sophie is bitten by a possibly rabies-infected stray cat, a series of disasters begin to plague the Brentwoods' lives, revealing the fault lines in a marriage--and a society--wrenching itself apart.
Publisher: New York : Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 156 p. ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 02, 2016

Fox has an exceptionally strong sense of language. In the brevity of one sentence, she tells entire stories, eliminating the need for bogged-down exposition and unnecessary backstory. Her descriptions do more than paint a scene--they set the mood, tell the history, and develop the characters. One need to only read the descriptions of the Bentwood home, their neighborhood, the hospital, the drive to the Bentwood summer home, and the summer home itself to have an firm idea of the story.
Not much happens in Desperate Characters, which lends to tedium in some scenes. The fact the entire book centers around a bourgeois Brooklyn couple and their response to a cat bite is enough to scare most readers away. Even so, Desperate Characters is likely the best book I've read "seemingly about nothing." Of course, the novel is not about nothing, and it is clever in its indictment of civilization. It is a novel about the end of society and the catastrophes which plague a typical middleclass couple of the 1960s.

Dec 22, 2014

Championed by Franzen, this classic novel is to the 1960s what "Revolutionary Road" was to the 1950s. Beset by a series of mishaps, the fractures in the relationship of the couple about whom the story is about reflect the forebodings of middle class society about their time. Fox certainly can write.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

CALS owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top