In this lugubrious first novel from Brooklynite Attenberg (Instant Love), Jarvis Miller is a young, pretty half-widow in the Williamsburg neighborhood. For six years, her brilliant painter husband, Martin Miller, has lain in a coma in a nursing home, while Jarvis rarely leaves the apartment for more than her once-a-week visit to see him. With frequent musings such as Waiting for Martin to wake up is a different kind of waiting than waiting for him to die, Jarvis slowly takes steps to go on with her life, and in the process, begins to suspect that her picture-perfect marriage may have been something else entirely. She finds little solace in Alice, Martin's glossy, possessive art dealer, or in Davis, Martin's louche artist friend. What helps the most is a serendipitous friendship with three married men she meets in a Laundromat, The Kept Men Club; the three are financially supported by their wives just as Jarvis, former party girl, was supported first by Martin, and now by his legacy. Attenberg gets the Williamsburg cityscape correct but builds almost zero tension with Jarvis's depressive brooding over Martin, his continued hold on her and the decisions she faces. Not for a moment in this airless dirge does Jarvis or her marriage feel credible. (Jan.)
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Attenberg has an admirable sense of fun...Displays a keen ear for dialogue and a half-cynical, half-affectionate tone that makes even the most venal characters likable.
San Francisco Chronicle
Told with wit and verve.
One finds a great deal to admire here... Ms. Attenberg [is] an able geographer of emotional landscapes.
New York Sun --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I was disappointed in this book. I found the characters and plot to be unbelievable. The inner life of the main character was not sufficiently developed.Published 19 months ago by Patricia R Martin
Her first mistake was that she completely gave her life away to her husband. She had no identity outside of his life and friends.Published on March 2, 2013 by Lisa D. Jacobs
Soooo slow. I kept hoping it would pick up but never did.
Can't believe she kept her brain dead husband on life support
for 6 years!!
I wanted to like the main character, but she made it difficult. I didn't always understand why she did what she didPublished on February 12, 2013 by barbara waite
Very interesting story, I kept it and would read it again. Very good up and coming author. Interesting back and forth opinions on the quality of life when a family member is kept... Read morePublished on February 3, 2013 by Mmi56
A Kept man was a bit over-written; the author describes every detail and very scene a bit too much, but the story was enjoyable.Published on January 26, 2013 by Avidreader
In The Kept Man, Attenberg explores the themes of identity, loss, and change through the story of Jarvis, a rootless woman who found meaning and purpose in marriage, and who now... Read morePublished on February 9, 2009 by Susan O'Doherty