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The Wisdom of Perversity

By Rafael Yglesias

“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

Brian and Jeff were best friends when they were young, leading lives of promise in New York City of 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, critically acclaimed, bestselling novelist and screenwriter, has crafted a novel that 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 who, thanks to his wealth and influence, is on the verge of escaping punishment.

The Wisdom of Perversity unmasks the headlines, giving voice to what is unsaid and life to what is hidden. Yglesias has created a startling, engrossing, unsettling, and moving story of surviving an insidious evil and a triumphant struggle to heal its wounds.

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Rafael Yglesias

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Review quotes
“‘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…set beside the grim literalness of The Wisdom of Perversity, as beside any case history of sexual abuse, Lolita is a lark, an extravagance, a phantasm of romance, a tour de force, a jubilant metaphor. Yglesias has known the real thing, and has chosen not to refashion it into anything other than itself.” —Joyce Carol Oates for The New York Times 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

“Child molestation is an ugly subject event when seen from a distance, and Yglesias pulls the readers inside the children’s heads. The outrage is intense . . . This makes the reader feel exactly what the girl feels: violated. Not that it ever happened to me--but it could have. If I hadn’t told.” —Miami Herald

“Yglesias delivers a powerful message about victimization, healing, and empowerment in a novel that is as timely as it is poignant.” —Booklist

“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

“[A]n affecting novel that is big-screen lurid without being superficial or too slick . . . [with] a touch of Agatha Christie-like mystery.” —Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
March 24, 2015