Meet the tourists, former classmates at Yale who, seven years later, must confront the people they've become while forging lives in Manhattan. David, a hedge fund wunderkind who forfeited idealism for wealth, hopes that a more fulfilling life lies ahead in the suburbs. His wife, the beautiful Samona, to whom David returns home nightly with nothing left for her, wonders whether her marriage is stripping away her best years. Ethan, a successful furniture designer with a magnetic sexuality, seeks something darker and more uncertain than the power lunches, needy family, and unsatisfying relationships that comprise his life. Rounding out the group is the story's unnamed narrator, a freelance reporter struggling to stay afloat -- financially, professionally, and emotionally -- who shares complicated histories with each of them.
When Ethan and Samona have a chance encounter at a gallery opening, they meet each other's needs. As our narrator traverses the city and gradually reconstructs the events that underlie the present circumstances, his own mysterious role comes into ever sharper focus. Only later, after David commissions Ethan to design some conference rooms at his firm and a secret triangle is formed, does our narrator begin to tie all the pieces together.
With The Tourists, Jeff Hobbs delivers a striking and stylish debut about the dark and sometimes destructive aspects of physical attraction and love, marital disillusionment, and the inevitable disappointments life can bring.
Jeff Hobbs graduated with a BA in English language and literature from Yale in 2002, where he was awarded the Willets and Meeker prizes for his writing. He is the author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace and The Tourists. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
"[An] ambitious and darkly contemporary first novel.... You don't need to draw the parallels with The Great Gatsby's rootless socialites to hear the slither of snakes in the grass." -- Ariel Swartley, Los Angeles Magazine
"An impressive debut in which keen insights are often strewn amid the narrative like shiny pennies on a dirty sidewalk." -- Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe
"Hobbs...captures the restlessness and ridiculousness of the sushi set's adult-onset angst with note-perfect acuity and a wry sense of humor." -- David Daley, USA Today
"The Tourists sketches, with a light touch, characters who are almost chillingly familiarÉThey'll either make readers smile or bring back awful memories of the people they learned to put up with in college. Part of what's catching reviewers' eyes is a narrator who in the wrong hands would have been flat or dull but whose plight makes the book irresistible after the first few pages... [he] is appealingly quiet, reserved and observant." -- Scott Timberg, Los Angeles Times