On a snowy New England evening in a small college town, Sean Farrell-a hard-drinking, libidinous poet and professor-hosts a Thanksgiving dinner. The eleven guests include two fellow professors (one a novelist, the other also a poet), two of Sean's former lovers, his lawyer, his housepainter, and his baker. What none of them knows is that Sean is dying. This dinner could be his grand finale.
As food and drink flow, secrets are exposed, tragedies bared, and truths uncovered. "Never could we have dreamed how rough adult life would be," one character thinks. Yet there is wit and laughter too, in a novel about mortality that is also a celebration of life. With each new book, it becomes increasingly clear that Nancy Huston is a writer of exceptional gifts. Sweet Agony
is another impressive performance from a writer whose eye is as sharp as her insight into the human condition is wise.