Mr. Peanut

Adam Ross

335 pages June 2010 Literary Fiction

Selected by The New York Times as one of the Most Notable Books of the Year
Selected by The New Yorker as one of the Top 26 Books of the Year
Selected by The Economist as one of the Top 7 Fiction Books of the Year
Shortlisted for the Lire/Virgin Prize, Fall 2011

An extraordinary first novel about marriage, murder and the intensely mysterious human heart.

“It’s by Adam Ross. It’s the most riveting look at the dark side of marriage since Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  And it induced nightmares, at least in this reader. No mean feat.”
– Stephen King  

“Mr. Peanut is as ingenious as it is riveting.”
Richard Russo

David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still can’t imagine a remotely happy life without her-yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.

The detectives investigating Alice’s suspicious death have plenty of personal experience with conjugal enigmas: Ward Hastroll was happily married until his wife inexplicably becomes voluntarily and militantly bedridden; and Sam Sheppard is especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt, having decades before been convicted and then exonerated of the brutal murder of his wife.

Like the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games David designs for a living, these complex interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and pose a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely? Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin, each endlessly recycling into the other? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?