Meet the Caspers, a family beset by cowardice and anxiety. Jonathan is a palaeontologist, searching in vain for a prehistoric squid. His wife, Madeline, an animal behaviourist, cannot explain why the pigeons she is studying are becoming increasingly aggressive. Their older daughter Amelia is a disappointed teenage revolutionary, while their younger, Thisbe, has become a devout Christian. Meanwhile, the girls' grandfather, Henry, is slowly absenting himself from life: each day he gives away a possession and speaks one word fewer, until the time comes when he will have spoken his last ever word. Before that can happen, however, Jonathan and Madeline decide to separate - and, suddenly, each family member has to confront their fears about the world in which they live. Set in the run-up to the 2004 US presidential election, The Great Perhaps is a tale of the nuclear family in the nuclear age; a witty, revealing story about just how complicated and ambiguous modern life can be. 'Darkly funny, lyrical and shrewdly observant' Tom Perrotta 'A big, generous-hearted American family novel . . . Meno's characters bristle with humanity, and I think this book will find a huge audience for its wisdom and life-affirming, but unsentimental, qualities' Irvine Welsh, Daily Telegraph
Joe Meno is the author of four previous novels and two story collections. He is a professor of creative writing at Columbia College, Chicago.