Parsimony is a novel about fathers and sons, a multigenerational tale about the twisted manifestations of politics and history in the lives of a particular Jewish American family. When the novel opens, David Ansky, a divorced and disaffected New York architect, has gone to Florida to move his father from his apartment into a local Alzheimer's home. He has never been close to the man and dreads the responsibility, intending to dispatch with the matter as swiftly and efficiently as possible. Yet things do not go as planned, so that quickly he finds himself entangled in the past, trapped in a cat and mouse game with his father in which he is never quite sure how to gauge the man’s remarks and behavior, which range from the paranoid and sentimental to the cruelly, severely astute. At the heart of this experience is David's reckoning, in the midst of the grim and cynical years just after 9/11, with his own life and career, and with his family's radically left-wing past—with his Stalinist grandfather, and with his bitter, politically disillusioned father, a Trotsky scholar and retired professor of Russian History. Set in the course of a single day in an apartment overlooking Sanibel Island, the novel explores the generational impact of shattered ideals.
About the Author
Peter Nash is the author of a biography called The Life and Times of Moses Jacob Ezekiel: American Sculptor, Arcadian Knight. He has recently completed a novel about a failed American biographer of the Austrian-Jewish author, Stefan Zweig, called The Perfection of Things. He has published poems and stories in Desideratum, Berkeley Poetry Review, The Avalon Literary Review, and The Minetta Review. In 2012, he co-founded and now writes a bi-weekly post for a literary blog called Talented Reader. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and two sons.
“A poignant, unflinching story about the fragile bonds between fathers and sons, Parsimony’s trenchant, heartbreaking prose captured me from the first few pages and continued to resonate long after I finished.This carefully crafted novel about love ineffable, about loss and death, is threaded throughout with spirit and hope—Memento mori becoming in the book’s final, beautiful passages Memento vivere. One of the finest pieces of new fiction I’ve read in a long time.”
—Mark Dunn, author of Ella Minnow Pea and We Five
“Peter Adam Nash imbues each line of elegant prose with a pervasive sense of unease. Along with the unfolding drama of the Ansky family, Parsimony skillfully evokes the controversies of one American decade after another. I was startled again and again by the shock of recognition—and by the all too relevant warning: how easily we defend ourselves against seeing systems of cruelty when blinded by conviction and hope, or by their absence.”
—Diane Lefer, author of Confessions of a Carnivore and California Transit: Stories
“Peter Nash's evocative exploration of the complex relationship between a son and his father possesses the melancholy wisdom of Philip Roth's Patrimony, the sense that we can never really know those closest to us until we know ourselves. Nash writes like a poet; his sentences unwind through ideas, emotions, and wise reflections on the sadness of aging, the difficulties of parenting, and the trials of sustaining intimacy when so much stands in the way. I loved this book for its quiet wisdom and for its commitment to telling the most daunting truths about growing apart from those with whom we share the most."
—George Ovitt, author of The Snowman and What Happens Next