Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is the story of James Sveck, a sophisticated, vulnerable young man with a deep appreciation for the world and no idea how to live in it. James is eighteen, the child of divorced parents living in Manhattan. Articulate, sensitive, and cynical, he rejects all of the assumptions that govern the adult world around him–including the expectation that he will go to college in the fall. he would prefer to move to an old house in a small town somewhere in the Midwest. Someday This Pain Will BE Useful to You takes place over a few broiling days in the summer of 2003 as James confides in his sympathetic grandmother, stymies his canny therapist, deplores his pretentious sister, and devises a fake online identity in order to pursue his crush on a much older coworker. Nothing turns out how he’d expected.
“Possibly one of the all-time great New York books, not to mention an archly comic gem” (Peter Gadol, LA Weekly), Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You is the insightful, powerfully moving story of a young man questioning his times, his family, his world, and himself.
About Peter Cameron
PETER CAMERON is the author of several novels, including Andorra and The Weekend. He lives in New York City.
Though he’s been accepted by Brown University, 18-year-old James isn’t sure he wants to go to college. What he really wants is to buy a nice house in a small town somewhere in the Midwest—Indiana, perhaps. In the meantime, however, he has a dull, make-work job at his thrice-married mother’s Manhattan art gallery, where he finds himself attracted to her assistant, an older man named John. In a clumsy attempt to capture John’s attention, James winds up accused of sexual harassment! A critically acclaimed author of adult fiction, Cameron makes a singularly auspicious entry into the world of YA with this beautifully conceived and written coming-of-age novel that is, at turns, funny, sad, tender, and sophisticated. James makes a memorable protagonist, touching in his inability to connect with the world but always entertaining in his first-person account of his New York environment, his fractured family, his disastrous trip to the nation’s capital, and his ongoing bouts with psychoanalysis. In the process he dramatizes the ambivalences and uncertainties of adolescence in ways that both teen and adult readers will savor and remember. – Michael Cart, Booklist
Cameron’s meticulously voiced novel begins as a comedy of manners, wittily disarticulating a certain class of New Yorker, so it takes the reader awhile to catch onto the fact that it’s actually a story about the psychological pain that comes from loneliness and the difficulty in making emotional connections. The virtuoso first-person narrative is related by the protagonist, James Sveck, an 18-year-old boy who is as smart as he is alienated. Hiding his fears behind a curtain of disinterested contempt, James, who is gay but unwilling to either discuss or test it, likes only two people in his life, his wise and accepting grandmother and the man who manages his mother’s art gallery. In the course of the story, James comes to realize that he can’t wall himself off forever, finally making a maladroit and unsuccessful attempt to reach out. Cameron’s power is his ability to distill a particular world and social experience with great specificity while still allowing the reader to access the deep well of our shared humanity. – Kirkus Reviews
Teenage Struggles In A Painful Post-Sept. 11 World
NPR Book Review – December 26, 2011 (Excerpt)
I picked up Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, by Peter Cameron, in a bookstore. In the first two pages, in which the narrator refers to his sister as “a bit of a linguistic zealot” and worries about his mother’s announcing “in a disturbing brainwashy way” that she plans to spend her third honeymoon in a city she hates, I was hooked.
So hooked, that since then, I’ve actually bought copies and given them away to total strangers — it’s a rather embarrassing practice, but that is how much I want to create a word-of-mouth movement that would rouse the world into recognizing the book’s sheer excellence.
There is a certain guilty pleasure of diving in, which comes from acknowledging that it’s awkward to be an introvert in a world of extroverts; that the teen years are usually not the best years of our lives, despite all hype to the contrary; and that it can be terrifying to reach out for the things we want.
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You is the story of James Sveck, who is facing his upcoming freshman year of college with a considerable lack of enthusiasm. Instead, he longs for beautiful old houses, preferably in some cozy town far from New York City, where he currently lives.
Nobody around him quite understands why an 18-year-old boy should develop a sudden passion for Midwestern real estate. However, the novel is set in 2003, and the reader can’t help wondering if James’ search for a “safe” place to live isn’t partly a response to the terrorist attacks two years earlier. [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS
A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
- 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
The Bleeding Hills is available at Amazon.Com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Nobel, and any other good bookstore.