Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Land of Steady Habits; Ted Thompson

Little, Brown, and Co

The Land of Steady Habits was an unexpected surprise. The focus of the story is on Anders Hill, a 60 year old man who lived life according to the rules.  Married to Helene, with 2 grown sons -- one son, Preston, 33, is still finding himself.  Anders has spent his career traveling from his home in an affluent CT town to his job in finance in New York City. Now at 60, after years and years of witnessing the corporate greed of Wall Street, he's calling it quits and opts for early retirement.

He's not only giving up his job, but he's giving up his beautiful home and his wife as well. He is divorcing his wife, who he hasn't had sex with for 5 months (and according to him -- it's not the fault of his penis). Yes, Anders is having a late-life crisis. He puts off his departure plans for a year when his wife underwent a double mastectomy. When he finally does leave, he's amazed at how quickly Helene gets over his departure. He wonders whether he's made a huge mistake. While Anders heads to a small town in Maine to begin his new life, Helene has his college roommate Donny, a man she dated in college, move into the marital home. 

The Land of Steady Habits, is about the dissolution of a marriage. It's about trying to find oneself after years of doing the things you felt you had to do. not what you wanted to do. It's an introspective story, one that made me root for Anders as he tries to make a new life for himself at 60. He wasn't always a sympathetic character, but there was something about him that I loved. He was the type of guy who just couldn't get out of his own way. 

There is a lot to like about this debut novel. I loved the way this new author writes -- descriptive, touching and even humorous. There are some real funny and not so funny things that take place a holiday party.  I especially loved that the protagonist was older, something that I don't find often enough in fiction. Readers who enjoy stories about family dysfunction, or individuals who have sometimes asked themselves, "is this all there is", should try this debut novel -- a pleasant surprise. I can't wait to read more novels by this promising new author.

The audio book was terrific and was read by the author.

5/5 stars
(audio book)


  1. A great review Diane. Always enjoy reading them.

  2. This one sounds interesting. I think I'd have to read it to decide if I like it. So much would depend on how it ended. Glad you liked it!

  3. Sounds like my kind of read. Thanks for sharing it and for visiting my blog.

  4. I love to read your 5/5 books! Not one wrong step. I really only want to read very good books.Thanks!

  5. This one does sound really good, Diane. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

  6. 5/5 for the audio? Guess I should seek it out! You always have great recs. :)

  7. I can see why you liked this one, Diane. It sounds really good, and the issues seem relevant to those of us getting older. Thank you for bringing this one to my attention!

  8. I'm a sucker for complicated marriage stories but this one seems sad. Am I wrong?

  9. I enjoyed the comments to this post, while I'm glad you enjoyed it so much it doesn't sound like a must read for me. Too sad for me these days.


Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thanks again for visiting.