James Sveck, 18-year-old New Yorker, charming, precocious, confused, doesn't quite fit in (doesn't really want to)....
If his future (i.e., college) seems completely meaningless, not to mention terrifying....
Then: he'll start anew (move to the Midwest?).
James Sveck is misunderstood by a capricious mother, a self-absorbed father, a mordant older sister, his Teutonic therapist, his D-list celebrity grandmother, his unnervingly attractive art gallery colleague....
If: What one wants is enigmatic....
Then: Life can be hell.
But: as the summer gets hotter, James comes to recognize the wrenching truth of his emotions.
James archly comic bravado fuels this sharply observed novel of a teen adrift in an adult world, struggling to make sense of the problems of love and of lack. The engaging voice of our idiosyncratic antihero is deftly captured by the adroit prose of Peter Cameron. Often hilarious, deeply compassionate, smart, and lyrical, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is every bit as sui generis as James Sveck himself.
From Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You
We sat for a moment in silence, and then the waiter delivered our meals. My father glanced at my plate of pasta, but said nothing. He cut into his nearly raw beef and smiled at the blood it drooled. “So,” he said, after he had taken a bite, “you’re not going to tell me.”
“Not going to tell you what?”
“Whether or not you’re gay.”
“No,” I said. “Why should I? Did you tell your parents?”
“I wasn’t gay,” said my father. “I was straight.”
“So, what, if you’re gay you have a moral obligation to inform your parents and if you’re straight you don’t?”
“James, I’m just trying to be helpful. I’m just trying to be a good father. You don’t have to get hostile. I just thought you might be gay, and if you were, I wanted to let you know that’s fine, and help you in whatever way I could.”
“Why might you think I was gay?”
“I don’t know. You just seem – well, let’s put it this way: you don’t seem interested in girls. You’re eighteen, and as far as I know you’ve never been on a date.”
I said nothing.
“Am I wrong? Or is that true?”
“Just because I’ve never been on a date doesn’t mean I’m gay. And besides, no one goes on dates anymore.”
“Well, whatever – normal kids hang out. They go out.”
Excerpted from "Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You" by Peter Cameron. Copyright © 0 by Peter Cameron. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.