Peter Heller is at loose ends. He just graduated college, a great Ivy League university. But he didn't get into the law school of his dreams and he doesn't want to go to the university that did accept him. He thought he was geared for success but now he's moved back home with his father and stepmother. He gets a series of dead-end jobs such as selling various items over the phone, soul deadening jobs. Peter doesn't know what he wants in life now. Should he become a standup comedian? Go for a second-rate law degree?
At loose ends, he drifts back to his college town where he still knows a number of the faculty. One of his favorite professors is now head of the English department and he hires Peter to teach a freshman composition class. Peter likes it at first but grows to dislike it. He meets Kim, a secretary at the university and starts a relationship with her but worries that she is still in love with her ex-husband, another English professor. Can Peter find a way forward?
Richard Price is acknowledged as one of the greats in American literature; his forte writing about city life, especially the law enforcement and criminal worlds. This book, however, has a collection of unlikeable personalities and unfortunately, Peter is among them. He seems to have no idea what to do with his life and his whining about it isn't pleasant to read. The book is well written and Price definitely has the measure of someone at loose ends. This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction that want to read one of Price's lesser known works.