Andrew Palmer

The Bachelor

Fiction - Literary

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An incisive, witty, and tender debut novel about love and commitment, celebrity and obsession, poetry and reality TV.

Reeling from a breakup with his almost-fiancée, the narrator of Andrew Palmer's first novel returns to his hometown in Iowa to house-sit for a family friend. There, a chance flick of the TV remote and a new correspondence with an old friend plunge him into unlikely twin obsessions: the reality TV show The Bachelor and the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet John Berryman. As his heart begins to mend, his fascination with each deepens. Somewhere along the way, representations of reality become harder and harder to distinguish from real life. Soon he finds himself corresponding with multiple love interests, participating in an ill-considered group outing, and trying to puzzle through the strange turn his life seems to have taken.

Intellectually ambitious and thought-provoking, The Bachelor is also an absorbing coming-of-age tale that tells the story of finding one's footing in love and art. If salvation can no longer be found in fame, can it still be found in romantic relationships? In an era in which reality TV can make two dozen women fall in love with one man in six weeks, where does entertainment end and reality begin? Why do we, season after season, repeat the same mistakes in love and life?