REVIEWED BY KYLE SMITH
At the crossroads of passive and aggressive sits David, a lumpy, middle-aged English teacher whose limited enthusiasm for living is reignited by a chance meeting with his ex-professor Ruth, now a famed artist. While David mulls his next move, he finds his bartender roommate James Glover and Ruth stealing each other from him. Reminiscent of Zoë Heller's Notes on a Scandal, this tart second novel by Laird (who's married to author Zadie Smith) makes the most of his pitiless poet's eye for the misshapen sack of sad that is David. You'll be silently urging David to save himself as he plots to muck things up between Ruth and Glover. The vague ending disappoints, but otherwise the book is prickly fun.