Brian and Jeff were best friends when they were young, leading lives of promise in New York City in the late 1960s, until something happened that brought an end to both their childhood and their friendship. Forty years later, when their secret surfaces in a terrible new context, they are forced to reunite by Jeff’s cousin, Julie, who was also a victim of their childhood trauma. Together they must decide whether to tell all–unbalancing their lives and threatening their future–or continue to hide the truth and allow others to be victimized.
Rafael Yglesias tells the stories of these three childhood friends who join together as adults to acknowledge the ways in which their lives were altered by the actions of a predator who sexually abused them, and who now, many years later, has been exposed by more recent victims but, thanks to his wealth and influence, is on the verge of escaping punishment.
The Wisdom of Perversity unmasks the headlines, giving voice to what has been left unsaid and light to what has been hidden. Yglesias has created a startling, engrossing, unsettling, and moving story of surviving an insidious evil and of a triumphant struggle to heal its wounds.
EDITOR'S CHOICE NY Times Book Review
“‘Childhood was the ideal soft metal for the permanent engravings of evil.’ This beautifully, bleakly precise statement occurs early in Rafael Yglesias’s painful and candid new novel about the consequences, seemingly irremediable, of childhood sexual molestation…From the perspective of three child victims, The Wisdom of Perversity bravely dramatizes and confronts these issues in the plainest language possible. Here is the antithesis of Nabokov’s Lolita…Yglesias has known the real thing, and has chosen not to refashion it into anything other than itself.”
Joyce Carol Oates, NY Times Sunday Book Review
The sly courage, the deft intelligence, and the fierceness of vision that we, his fans, have come to expect from a Rafael Yglesias novel all blaze brightly forth–and cast very dark shadows–in The Wisdom of Perversity.
Michael Chabon, author of Telegraph Avenue
Many contemporary works of fiction are bold, but few are this courageous. With The Wisdom of Perversity, Rafael Yglesias has written a frightening, evocative, and intensely compassionate novel that manages somehow to do the impossible, shedding light on one of the darkest corners of this human theater.
Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life
An affecting novel that is big-screen lurid without being superficial or too slick. Most important, he shines a Kleig light where it may be most needed, into the parlors and playrooms where many Americans endure or perpetrate these nightmares.
Yglesias delivers a powerful message about victimization, healing, and empowerment in a novel that is as timely as it is poignant.
Cortney Ophoff, Booklist