The Slippage
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The Slippage

3.02 of 5 stars 3.02  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  21 reviews
What would happen if you invited Lorrie Moore, Mona Simpson, Tom Perrotta, and Steven Wright to a suburban barbecue? Something like this wry and wistful new novel of marriage, lust, and disconnection, from the author of What He's Poised to Do.

William and Louisa Day are a suburban husband and wife with no children confronting the question of what their relationship means to...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Harper Perennial
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Larry Hoffer
I'd rate this 3.5, maybe 3.75 stars.

"The slippage is a specific thing. It's the moment when you start to lose your footing."

It's hard to tell where William Day's slippage began. Was it at the party he and his wife, Louisa, threw, when she didn't come out of hiding until the very end? Was it the moment an emotionally distant Louisa revealed she had bought property with inherited money, and asked William to build her a house? Or was it the unexpected reappearance of a person with whom he had a bri...more
Think Tom Perrotta but with little of the humor. Or Meg Wolitzer or Julia Glass but more suburban and with a lot less depth, detail, and empathy. The premise is interesting -- suburban marital ennui, and a falling apart of otherwise stable lives that begins with "the slippage" of the title -- but the book is gimmicky enough that you don't ever really feel that you know these characters. It's more like they represent people who might be experiencing all of these things, but as a reader you never...more
Lorri Steinbacher
Greenman deftly writes about suburban marital ennui. The concept of slippage really interested me. At what point, once you lose your footing, can you right yourself. William seems to float through his life making daily bargains with himself just to get through. His marriage is stagnant, his wife trying to reinvigorate them by insisting on a new house. William takes comfort in the house that they live in, comfort if not joy. In fact, joy is conspicuously absent in this book. All the characters ar...more
Joyland Magazine
Apr 14, 2013 Joyland Magazine is currently reading it
Listen to Ben's appearance on our podcast, Truth & Fiction, where he discusses suburbia and the origins of The Slippage.
*Really 1.5 stars. I was surprsied. Neither very good, nor very interesting.
" 'I'm trying to figure out how to make things work now. If I do that, then the future's just the sound of that same note sustaining.'
" 'That's beautiful,' Karla said. The idea was something William had acquired from a magazine, which didn't make it less beautiful" (50).
" 'As Kepler said,' Tom said, "the untrained eye is an idiot" " (58).
"She forced capital letters onto the last few words" (71).
"…and he moved side to sid...more
Uwe Hook
"The slippage is a specific thing. It's the moment when you start to lose your footing."

It's hard to tell where William Day's slippage began. Was it at the party he and his wife, Louisa, threw, when she didn't come out of hiding until the very end? Was it the moment an emotionally distant Louisa revealed she had bought property with inherited money, and asked William to build her a house? Or was it the unexpected reappearance of a person with whom he had a brief relationship some time ago?

"William had been keeping two secrets..." I was intrigued by this story, and while the writing was very good, I just couldn't get into the characters enough to care about what happened to them. I was really intrigued by the title, and a piece of the book that talked about graphic representation. I wish the author used this more (though I found more used in the notes at the end of the book that I think should been included in the text itself).

"Lunch was the spine of the day. Everything else moved...more
The world seems to shrink when one wakes up and realizes that they are middle aged and have not accomplished all that they have set out to do. They feel suffocated by the stagnant repetition of everyday life and nothing seems to inspire them. The world seems to tip and their feet begin to slip as if they are losing their grip on reality. A quest is sought out to remedy this situation that often leads to misadventure and sadness. It takes a person to a place that they may have not wished they had...more
The Short of It:

A fractured, splintered view of a marriage in decline.

The Rest of It:

When I first saw the title of this book I was immediately reminded of California earthquake faults and how they slip and slide every ten years to give us a good jolt of reality. Oddly enough, that’s kinda what this book is about. Marriage, on the brink of disaster and how the fissures eventually become full-on cracks if you let them run their course.

William and Louisa Day live in suburban bliss. Nice house, grea...more
**I received a copy of The Slippage as a Goodreads giveaway.**

Greenman has written a story that is centered on conflict. Professionally, the protagonist is dealing with the stress of the corporate world. Personally, he is caught in a stagnant, childless marriage where an affair becomes a natural consequence. It is not the storyline that captivated me as a reader, as it is a plot that repeats itself often in literature. It is the writing that kept me turning the page. Greenman takes single moment...more
Started our a 2-star book for me, and if I made a practice of abandoning books, I might have done so. I am, despite plenty of terrible books, still a literary optimist, I guess, and this book improved greatly in the second half. Not a light-hearted read, that's for sure. The characters all came across as slightly unformed, and in the first half seemed to act randomly, without motivation. Greenman does tackle some Big Ideas that are slightly depressibg, really, but interesting. No new ground, tho...more
Brian Grover
Solid, if unspectacular. A quiet snapshot of a pair of quiet lives, it feels (mostly) real enough, and the dialogue has plenty of pop. However, I have some issues here. One, the two main female characters (the wife and the mistress) talk almost identically; I'd have appreciated a clearer division of major characters. Two, the guy (William) is just a little too glib. Greenman would have done well to make him a little less comfortable, a little less quick.

As an aside, it's patently ridiculous how...more
This book was pretty good - it had passages that were extremely well written, but in the end was a long description of relationship ennui. About halfway through I was really into it, but by the end didn't feel the same way, although the interview and author comments afterwards did lend it some increased gravity, so there was that.
Tiffin-Seneca Public Library
The story centers on William Day, who seems like your typical suburban professional. He lives with his wife, Louisa, and pretty much makes it through life one day at a time. But he must deal with a loss of control in his life once his wife shows him the plot of land where she wants to build a home. One by one, things start happening that threaten to unravel his life. This is a very well done novel about a dysfunctional marriage.
Jan 19, 2014 Penney added it
Shelves: fiction, abandoned
An attempt to normalize poor adult decision making left me not caring about any characters.
Another one for the started did not finish shelf. It was a present and not one I would have chosen, clearly the author was having some kind of mid life crisis. the main male character was such a sad sack who had a rather un-original affair, lost his job, he and his wife don't communicate anymore yada yada yada. BORING!
It was ok. I was shocked at how upset William got at the end of the book when Louisa made her big announcement, considering what he'd been up to. Overall I didn't really like the characters. I just wanted to reach into the book and slap them and yell, wake up. Louisa's brother Tom was a comical addition to the book. I liked his graphs.
I really like Ben Greenman's sense of humor (at least as it presents itself within his writing) as combines cleverness, sharpness, and yet also a senes of warm-heartedness. The Slippage had those qualities but the overall plot arc didn't have quite enough oomph for me. But it worked as a nice, fast cloudy day read.
Got this as a giveaway from GR and brought it to read on vacation. Couldn't make it past the first chapter. Everything about it seemed so cliche and over-written. I hate to abandon books but I just couldn't finish.
Michelle Remmey
Just barely enough interest to get me to finish it. I feel like this could have been a much better book, had it been longer and included more details about the characters and their relationships.
Marriage: Love + lust + infidelity?

This seems to be a somewhat honest look at the dishonesty within a marriage. Nothing spectacular or moving, nothing thrilling or particularly poignant.
The writing was good in this book. The tone was a bit creepy and trapped. Characters just didn't leave me with anything.....
Jonathan Horowitz
Meh, nothing new, vaguely intriguing at times, but not as much as you could feel the author wanting it to be...
Victoria is currently reading it
Jul 24, 2014
Kitty Blue
Kitty Blue marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2014
Jpaav marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2014
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Ben Greenman is an editor at The New Yorker whose short fiction, journalism, and essays have appeared there, The New York Times, McSweeneys, The Paris Review, and Zoetrope: All Story. He is the author of several acclaimed books of fiction, including Superbad, Superworse, A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both, Correspondences, and the novel Please Step Back. HIs new book of stories What He's Poise...more
More about Ben Greenman...
What He's Poised to Do: Stories Superbad: Stories and Pieces A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories about Human Love Celebrity Chekhov: Stories by Anton Chekhov Please Step Back

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