There is no American writer alive who is funnier, more inquisitive, or more surprising than Julie Hecht. The Unprofessionals, her first novel, whose narrator also told the stories in the author's bestselling collection Do the Windows Open?, is a triumph of tragicomedy. The book follows the odd friendship between the narrator -- a photographer in her late forties -- and a precocious raconteur, identified only as The Boy, whom she has known since his childhood. As the narrator and the young man regale each other with tales of the way Americans live now, she is also telling the story of his path to heroin addiction and his many attempts to recover.
The Unprofessionals is a masterpiece of comic despair, illuminating our bewildering century, and a hilarious and sad story of two outsiders who see the world with painful clarity -- and as a whole, a novel of unexampled originality.
Julie Hecht is the author of Do the Windows Open?, Was This Man a Genius?: Talks with Andy Kaufman, and The Unprofessionals. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker and Harper's. She has won an O. Henry Prize and received a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives on the east end of Long Island in winter and in Massachusetts in summer and fall. She has been writing stories since she was eight years old.
"Julie Hecht sees the horribleness and beauty of our everyday lives better than anyone else, and her humor is deadpan, wild, and sibylline. The Unprofessionals kept me reading avidly right to its last word." -- Ian Frazier
"An authentic, witty, and uncustomary voice -- a sharp-eyed and funny revelation of privilege and pain." -- Alice Munro
"Reminiscent of the gossamer mind-spinning, and lethal detonation, of 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish.'...Many beautifully contoured reflections...a narrator endowed with every conceivable sensitivity and a passionate spirit." -- The New York Times Book Review