David Carkeet


From Away (2010)
The Error of Our Ways (1997)
The Full Catastrophe (1990)
I Been There Before (1985)
The Greatest Slump of All Time (1984)
Double Negative (1980)
The Full Catastrophe (1990)




A comic chronicle of marital misunderstandings . . . hilarious, wildly inventive, and eerily accurate . . . Read this terrific book.
--Los Angeles Times

With humor and insight, Mr. Carkeet's fourth novel addresses the commonest of social diseases--a failing marriage--with the least likely of therapies: a live-in linguist.
--New York Times Book Review


A comic masterpiece. . . . It ought to become one of the best-loved novels of the year.
--Kansas City Star

While the book is clever, deft, and appealingly funny, its most notable accomplishment lies in making its simple message--that we should all listen more carefully--meaningful again.
--Philadelphia Inquirer

What makes The Full Catastrophe more than mere entertainment is this: We aren’t simply laughing at the Wilsons but sadly smiling with recognition at what so many people want, yet fear the most—real intimacy and a love that might just last.
--San Francisco Chronicle
  

Wickedly funny, deeply compassionate, and highly readable.
--Library Journal 

Hilarious.
--Chicago Tribune 

Carkeet’s premise is fresh, his characters utterly winning, and his comic observations full of affection for those caught up in the complex confusions of love.
--Publishers Weekly

Laugh-out-loud scenes and witty dialogue abound. . . . Carkeet’s novel is a wonderful amalgam of the lunatic and the serious, like life itself.
--Rocky Mountain News

A sly comedy of marital manners with fully realized characters and believable dialogue . . . a deliciously entertaining, wildly funny book about serious things.
--Washington Times

Carkeet has the gift of entertaining and teaching simultaneously.  The Full Catastrophe, for all its funny lines, is a serious, masterful examination of modern marriage in an age of unrealistically high expectations.
--St. Louis Post-Dispatch

It’s reassuring to come once in a while on a writer who can make you chuckle and laugh out loud.  Carkeet is such a one: His linguist Jeremy cook is a latter-day Lucky Jim.
--Antioch Review

Not only is The Full Catastrophe intellectually engaging, it also provides hilarious dialogue in a fast-paced romp through marital discord.
--London (Ontario) Free Press
 
The generous dialogue makes make your heart sing and weep at the same time: Carkeet captures with precision and humor the daily conversations that can raise anger to a fever pitch between well-intentioned people who love each other.  Carkeet is a writer who loves his characters, and this makes me love the novel in which he creates them.
--Deborah Tannen

With The Full Catastrophe, David Carkeet has pulled off a feat of literary magic.  A deftly crafted story featuring a cast of deliciously quirky, endearing characters straight out of the American heartland.  A trove of insights about the way we live and love and bump our heads trying, sweetened by some of the funniest writing since Mark Twain.
--Jonathan Kellerman



Book Jacket Summary

The Pillow Agency's approach to saving troubled marriages is unorthodox but compelling: it sends experts in communication to move in with feuding married couples and make sense of their angry words.  Jeremy Cook, America's favorite linguist (Double Negative, The Error of Our Ways), is a nervous new Pillow Agent, and he finds himself on suddenly intimate terms with Dan and Beth Wilson, an appealing suburban St. Louis couple, at least when they're not snarling at each other.  Cook isn't exactly prepared for the job--his linguistic specialty is Kickapoo adverbs, his romantic history inglorious--and Beth immediately registers her skepticism.  Husband Dan seems willing to make a go of the unusual therapy, but his sincerity is open to question.  Meanwhile, the Wilsons' ten-year-old son wonders who the new guy is.

As Cook puzzles over his assignment and sends probes into the Wilson marriage, he also goes on a series of hair-raising, cliche-testing dates conducted by the Pillow Agency in its attempt to solve the mystery of love.  Is it true that "opposites attract," or do we all long for a "perfect match"?  And what would a "dream date" be?  But the cliche that most interests Cook is "the one who got away"--for him that would be Paula, a former love who haunts his memory.  Ever the scientist, Cook must turn a hard, cold eye not just on the Wilson marriage but on himself as well.  In The Full Catastrophe, David Carkeet has created a unique world that is rich in comedy, intimacy, and truth.

 
French edition, titled Une Putain de Catastrophe, published in 2014 by Monsieur Toussaint Louverture.

A play adaptation of The Full Catastrophe by playwright Michael Weller had a staged reading directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch at the Berkshire Theater Group's Unicorn Theater, a staged reading at the Repertory Theater of St. Louis directed by Seth Gordon, and a full production at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, WV, directed by Ed Herendeen.


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