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Suspension: A Novel Paperback – August 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060741376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060741372
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Had it been set anywhere but New York City, Westfield's raucous debut would be viewed as an absurdist tale, but in the shadow of 9/11 and bolstered by Westfield's accessible prose, it's a striking portrait of life in the Big Apple. Andy Green, a Hell's Kitchen denizen, pays the rent by writing tricky multiple-choice questions for an educational testing service and soon finds himself quasi-managing the floundering cabaret career of his Russian émigré friend, Sonia Obolensky. One night, while attending her crummy cabaret show, Andy becomes smitten with Sonia's new mentor, Brad Willet. Young, handsome and independently wealthy, Brad devotes himself to worthy causes, prompting Andy to do the same. But when Brad abruptly cuts Andy off, he dives into a downward spiral that's exacerbated by a hate crime and 9/11. Andy goes off the deep end and doesn't leave his apartment for months. Though the reader will likely be ahead of Andy in figuring out that both Sonia and Brad are not who they appear to be (the answer lies in a surprising backstory set in Michigan a generation ago), Andy's story is a wild one. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Robert Westfield received his degree in theater and English from Columbia University. As a playwright, he was the writer-in-residence for the Working Group. He lives in New York.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I loved this book and have recommended it to a bunch of people.
whitsidd
The characters are fun, and a bit crazy. the plot is fast moving and detailed.
Susan Bigelow Marsh
I can't wait to see what's next after this absolutely satisfying debut.
richnew

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tola on August 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Andy Green's job is to create quizzes for educational purposes. As long as he submits his work regularly and shows up in his office occasionally, everyone is happy. Living a simple life, he has a number of good friends, including a rich and exciting boyfriend and seemingly no enemies. One day, however, everything changes and shakes his world up. His sister's fiancée gets badly beaten after a dinner with Andy and ends up in the hospital. Andy is very shaken by this and locks himself in his apartment and refuses to go out. The world does not stop turning though and his family and friends try to help him overcome the fear and convince him to get out. One day he receives a strange package which finally makes him get out and solve a few mysteries.

Suspension is a very strange novel. It's funny in parts but other parts are quite gloomy and dark. The mixture of mystery and comic events makes the book very engrossing and hard to put down. The main character is quite likable but also hard to figure out at times. To sum this up, the book is a very quick and captivating read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joshua G. Kilmer-purcell on September 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Yesterday, while watching the canned media spectacle of the five year 9/11 anniversary, I kept thinking of Westfield's book.

For most New Yorkers, remembering that day has little to do with flags, weeping eagles, & endtimes.

It was, for many, simply a very very very bad day in the city. It's a personal thing. This is just a tiny part of what I love about Westfield's novel. That such an incomprehensibly large event serves merely as a backdrop to a larger, personalized, comedically suspenseful page turner - with enough twists and turns and back stories to ensure that the book never leaves your hands until they're all resolved. Perfectly.

Suspension is a unique and interesting perspective on the New York City of today. And as far as I'm concerned, the most authentic one i've read to date.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James Laird on August 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
In a keenly-crafted first effort seemingly generated by a more seasoned pen, Robert Westfield tells a story of isolation and the repercussions stemming from both the choices we make and those we're unwilling to. It is a story that, although set primarily in New York City, moves easily beyond and applies a hand to us all. There is an immediate sense of familiarity with the characters - an indication the author has succeeded establishing empathy - and then the gaining of an even deeper appreciation and understanding as those comfortable layers that worked to lure us in are stripped away to reveal the foundations and motivations justifying actions most of us consider disagreeable. Also impressive is Westfield's ability to take those delicate social matters we are reluctant to discuss and infuse within a humor that somehow lightens the load without affecting their necessary impact. Suspension is a novel that continues to gain momentum throughout, never letting up, even when we have closed the book and are left with its powerful echoes. It is authors such as this tackling issues such as these that makes for the fascinating, thought-provoking literature I often search for yet seldom find.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By whitsidd on August 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a busy mom, there is nothing more frustrating than making time for a book that doesn't grip you. Fortunately, that wasn't the case with "Suspension." I found myself repeatedly plopping my toddler and preschooler in front of videos and locking myself in the bathroom to steal time with this book. Couldn't put it down.

The prose has a wonderful cadence and is very smart, in a learned sense -- but without making the reader feel he must run for the dictionary or encyclopedia. It's accessible. The characters really stay with you. And you don't need to be from or know New York to appreciate the story. The personalilities and themes are universal.

I loved this book and have recommended it to a bunch of people. I can't wait for Westfield's next book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By richnew on March 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
other than to say that I'm somewhat astounded that this is a first novel. Characters, plot and story, and beautiful writing (isn't it just fabulous when a writer actually uses the English language well?) make this one of the best novels I've read in recent years. One of the things I noticed (and found interesting) from reading the interview with the writer at the end is how he ascribed various elements of his life to different characters in the novel -- not as if any character is Westfield barely disguised, but he uses his own experience to animate the other (infinitely interesting) characters. I can't wait to see what's next after this absolutely satisfying debut.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Bowman on September 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Robert Westfield's "Suspension" gets a hold of you from the first page and doesn't let go until the last. Part loving tribute to New York, part mystery, and all around look at how we live our day to day lives, "Suspension" is a quick, griping read sure to keep you guessing and laughing throughout. As other reviews have stated, it is the story of Andy Green who, after several months of self imposed isolation, learns that life is what happens when we are in another room. The prose is gentle and flows well as Westfield invites you into Andy's life, then takes you for a ride that you didn't expect. The events of 9/11 take a backseat to the confusion and revelations that await Andy and the reader. A very enjoyable ride; one I would not have a problem taking again and again. Can't wait for your next one, Robert!!
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