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Mark Firth is a contractor and home restorer in Howland, Massachusetts, who feels opportunity passing his family by. After being swindled by a financial advisor, what future can Mark promise his wife, Karen, and their young daughter, Haley? He finds himself envying the wealthy weekenders in his community whose houses sit empty all winter.
Philip Hadi used to be one of these people. But in the nervous days after 9/11, he flees New York and hires Mark to turn his Howland home into a year-round "secure location" from which he can manage billions of dollars of other people's money. The collision of these two men's very different worlds - rural vs. urban, middle class vs. wealthy - is the engine of Jonathan Dee's powerful new novel.
Inspired by Hadi, Mark looks around for a surefire investment: the mid-decade housing boom. Over Karen's objections, and teaming up with his troubled brother, Gerry, Mark starts buying up local property with cheap debt. Then the town's first selectman dies suddenly and Hadi volunteers for office. He soon begins subtly transforming Howland in his image - with unexpected results for Mark and his extended family.
Here are the dramas of 21st-century America - rising inequality, working class decline, a new authoritarianism - played out in the classic setting of some of our greatest novels: the small town. The Locals is that rare work of fiction capable of capturing a fraught American moment in real time.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kimberly on 08-17-17
A LONG Boring Journey That Ultimately Goes Nowhere.
I had high hopes for this book, but they were quickly dashed....I settled for mediocre hopes; but alas, not even those were fulfilled!
A story with pretensions; this was a 9 hour Seinfeld episode: a story about nothing. No plot, no real character development, nothing driving it....ughhhh the more I think about it the more annoyed I become. I can't even be bothered to write a thoughtful critique much like the author couldn't be bothered to write a book with an actual plot. The entire time I listened all I could think was: what is the point here?
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Anonymous User on 09-08-17
Story didn't have much compelling to it. As a Bostonian it captures western MA well, but that's about it. Kind of like a reverse animal farm, for adults. None of the characters was particularly compelling.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful