With an ominous oncologist’s report hanging over his head, Hugo decides to get away for a bit, to a conference in Paris. There, a new romance blooms and Hugo finds himself wondering if growing old in Paris might be the perfect antidote to the drama he left behind in New York. Unflinching, witty, and urbane as ever, Louis Begley delivers a spot-on satire of the world of New York’s aging elite, and uncovers the unexpected delights a late-in-life change can offer.
After four decades of what he believes to be a happy, healthy partnership, Hugo Gardner’s world is overturned when he learns that his wife, Valerie, is not only requesting a divorce but has left him for a younger, more vital man. Hugo, an octogenarian political writer and retired journalist for Time, must rethink the way he’s lived, and reassess how he’d like to spend his remaining years.
Reconsidering past relationships in his mind, with years of distance, Hugo begins to see things in a new light: Valerie, whose youth and ambition eventually came between them; his children, whose support might be more financially than emotionally motivated; and his friends, who, like him are rapidly aging before his very eyes.