Midwestern malaise in Dean Bakopoulos’ Summerlong.

by amy

If you’ve ever spent any time in the Midwest during the dog days of summer, than you know its heat: scorching, relentless, unforgiving. And in Dean Bakopoulos’ new novel Summerlong, readers will meet characters that exhibit some of these qualities. 

Don Lowry is a small town realtor in Grinnell, Iowa–the place he was born and raised, and the place he met his wife while attending college. Now he and Claire are the parents of three young children, who have fallen into a predictable suburban existence. But when each has a separate chance encounter with two local twenty-somethings, things come to a boil.

Summerlong is not a feel-good vacation read–in fact, one reviewer noted that it “is no escape”–but that’s what makes it so good. It is the classic suburban novel, in the style of Cheever or Updike: all restrained rage and repressed longing. Beautifully written and believably wrought. Read it, if only as a cautionary tale.