- File Size: 3386 KB
- Print Length: 526 pages
- Publisher: Renaissance Literary & Talent in collaboration with the Author (February 19, 2013)
- Publication Date: February 19, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00BI8781C
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,470 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Arrangement Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is written in the first person by Eddie Anderson, the main character; a truly unlikable, superficial, self-centered, insensitive clod. Of all the novels I've ever read, I don't believe I've ever hated a protagonist as much as I hated Eddie Anderson. He simply has no redeeming qualities. Most of what I read is narrative--pages and pages of boring details in a futile attempt to develop this weak character. There is almost no description, no use of the senses, and the few metaphors the author uses are worn out cliches. Perhaps the author's biggest blunder was the fact that for the most part, the story lacks even the slightest action. Maybe when this book was originally released in 1967, when contemporary fiction was much different than it is today, it might have been an okay book at best. But in 2015, it's an atrocity.
Middle-aged Eddie Anderson is a vice president at a Los Angeles advertising company. He has all the trappings of a "successful" life including an executive position with an enviable salary, a loving wife, Florence, and a fine home replete with servants and an in-ground pool. But Eddie finds himself increasingly dissatisfied with his lifestyle. His rebellious young mistress, Gwen Hunt, feeds his frustration. Florence's discovery of photos of Eddie and Gwen together au naturale ends the affair and Eddie and Florence attempt reconciliation but he can't shake his displeasure with the "arrangements" of his life. The package begins to unravel with Eddie's breakdown and suicide attempt. As he sorts out his situation Gwen moves east.
Self-loathing Eddie travels to New York City to visit his ailing elderly father and Gwen and is followed by Florence. Eddie confronts all of the relationships in his life. He despises his domineering Greek father who never offered him a kind word. He resolves he won't go back to Florence or the position at the agency and seeks out Gwen who now has an infant child and a boyfriend and who wants only a physical relationship from Eddie.
Eddie burns down his father's crumbling homestead in an act of Oedipal defiance and is then shot in the buttocks by Gwen's jealous boyfriend when he finds them together in flagrante delicto. Florence has Eddie committed to a mental hospital but, while he convalesces, their divorce is settled. Florence's other-era, long-suffering marital loyalty to Eddie will surely try the patience of some readers. Eddie moves in with Gwen in Connecticut. Theirs is a simple lifestyle although the relationship is far from idyllic. When the two realize no one else will have them they marry.
The Arrangement, a mid-life crisis tour de force, was a huge success for Kazan. The novel was #1 on the New York Times for an extended period. The Arrangement clearly struck a chord with the American public in 1967, which was beginning to challenge accepted social values. Kazan's descriptions of Eddie's and Gwen's sexual relationship were considered shocking at the time although they are quite tame by today's standards.
The Arrangement will best be appreciated by readers somewhat familiar with Kazan's personal and professional history due to the many autobiographical elements in the novel. Although he later denied the connection, Florence has many characteristics of Kazan's puritanical blue blood first wife, Molly Thatcher Kazan. Gwen is a doppelganger for Kazan's sexually liberated mistress and second wife, headstrong actress, Barbara Loden. Kazan's relationship with his own tyrannical father is vividly portrayed in the novel. Kazan wrote later that his mother was mortified by the novel's thinly veiled references to the Kazan family. Kazan's dissatisfaction with his career as a stage director was the inspiration for Eddie's professional crisis.
The Arrangement builds on Kazan's first novel/screenplay, America, America, which was based upon the immigration of Kazan's uncle to America in pursuit of freedom and opportunity. The Arrangement ironically reveals Uncle Joe and his brothers seventy years later, without money, and longing for their old Turkish homeland.
Kazan directed the film version of the Arrangement, starring Kirk Douglas, Deborah Kerr, and Faye Dunaway, which was released in 1969 to decidedly negative reviews. Kazan would write five more novels, none of which would reach anywhere near the same level of popularity as The Arrangement. Elia Kazan died in 2003.