Jennifer Egan’s 2010 novel “A Go to From the Goon Squad” earned her the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Now, she’s written a sequel, “The Sweet Home,” during which a tech big develops the means for customers to externalize and share each reminiscence they’re ever had. (Seems like hassle.)
Learn an excerpt under.
If something might be mentioned in protection of the individual I used to be in 2008, the 12 months Sasha made amends and Polly was born—the 12 months I turned thirty—it may be solely that I used to be least forgiving of myself. Each transfer I made was aimed toward harrying myself towards better excellence. However sure issues, like sleep, resist inflexible management. In highschool, my insomnia had made it attainable to excel academically whereas additionally enjoying three varsity sports activities, working for a tree pruning firm, and pleasing a finicky girlfriend. I bridged the gaps with peanut butter, which I ate by the jar, and teenage power. However Polly was colicky, and by then I used to be the youngest accomplice in my legislation agency’s historical past, and the workload was crushing. I began taking sleeping drugs at night time and Adderall within the morning to get me going—and ultimately all through the day to maintain me sharp. When the Adderall made me jangly, I would settle down with Xanax or Percocet within the afternoon earlier than knocking myself out with extra sleeping drugs at bedtime. I noticed this metabolic tinkering as nothing greater than taking good care of enterprise, and the benefit with which I chemically managed my deficits, coupled with a slight drug nausea I usually felt, made me doubly impatient with everybody else. I turned, as they are saying, “irritable”—arduous to work for and more durable to stay with. My excessive requirements intensified the strain I felt personally, which meant that I wasn’t residence with our youngsters sufficient (three in 5 years, consistent with our plan) or a lot of a accomplice for Trudy—who had suspended her legislation profession to allow our childrearing—sexually or in some other approach. All of which made me extra irritable, as a result of I sensed that I used to be failing when all I would ever completed, my complete life, was attempt to succeed.
To the bare eye, issues nonetheless regarded high quality at that time. I used to be bringing in enterprise and seeing it by means of, albeit at the price of some reputation at my agency. At residence, everybody appeared pleased, as I reminded myself each day by checking Trudy’s Fb—later, her Instagram feed. She was a genius at capturing offhand moments and making them look iconic. Scrolling by means of her journeys to the seashore, the park, the zoo (usually with our neighbor Janna and her 4 youngsters)—ice cream dribbling from chins; a video of crayoned pinwheels twirling within the breeze—I may truly really feel my heartbeat gradual, my blood calm. Any fragment of time I would managed to wrest from work and spend with them was all the time entrance and heart, and I gorged on Trudy’s pictures of Polly hugging me; of Michael, our older son, throwing me a ball; of me spooning mashed bananas into the mouth of Timothy, our child. Every part was high quality, I informed myself, drawing deep breaths at my cherrywood desk in my towering, glassy workplace. They had been nonetheless there, nonetheless pleased—we had been pleased, all 5 of us in our lovely residence by the lake, precisely as Trudy and I had fantasized after making love between legislation faculty lessons—simply ready for me to return again.
Excerpted from “The Sweet Home” by Jennifer Egan. Copyright © 2022 by Jennifer Egan. Reprinted with permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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