The Weekend A Novel

Peter Cameron




Trade Paperback

208 Pages



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On a midsummer weekend, in a country house in upstate New York, three friends, Lyle, Marian, and John, gather on the anniversary of the death of John's brother, who was also Lyle's lover. As Tony's absence haunts each of them in different ways, the reunion is complicated by the presence of Lyle's new lover, a much younger man named Robert, and a faux-Italian dinner guest with a penchant for truth telling. As the seemingly idyllic weekend proceeds, each character is stripped bare, and old memories and new desires create a chemistry that will transform them all.


Praise for The Weekend

"Full of observations that ring like porch chimes and flicker like fireflies, evanescent yet indelible."—The New Yorker

"A fascinating literary page-turner . . . The Weekend is a short book, but each line, each word matters . . . Like the late British novelist Barbara Pym, Peter Cameron has the rare ability to take an ordinary event and invest it with heart and significance . . . We close the novel not only knowing each complicated, 'prickly' character better, but also more aware and appreciative of the intricate sculpture which underlies all human social arrangements."—Michael Dorris, Los Angeles Times

"Complexity, precision, lyricism, and passion . . . The Weekend echoes Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, D. H. Lawrence, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose brilliant narrative critiques of material culture open, again and again, to the metaphysical to that dimension where the known world cedes to mystery . . . Peter Cameron's tender elegy is as much a love song as a lament, as much a prayer as a dirge."—Joyce Reiser Kornblatt, The New York Times Book Review

"A beautifully wrought novel...perilously poised characters."—Joseph Olshan, Chicago Tribune

"A tale of love, mourning, emotional risk-taking and off-center lives . . . It hovers in a corner of your memory for a long, long time."—Margaria Fichtner, The Miami Herald

"A novel so moving that, on finishing it, we are convinced that something of importance has taken place. We feel deeply moved, and bereft."—Francine Prose, The Yale Review

"An intensely observed study of how loss and grief affect several old friends and one new one . . . Part of a growing body of mainstream gay fiction . . . not about coming out or clashes with a heterosexual world, but rather about a milieu where gays stuggle alongside their straight friends with the same perplexing relationship woes."—Heller McAlpin, Newsday

"What's planned as a peaceful summer weekend instead stirs up all its participants' insecurities in this beautifully modulated novel of relationships, Cameron's fourth work of fiction. John and Marian, 40ish and filthy rich, wait in their lovely upstate New York home for the arrival of art critic Lyle, the lover of John's half-brother and Marian's very dear friend Tony, who died of AIDS exactly one year before. Lyle has in tow a new partner: a poor, young, half-Indian landscape painter and waiter named Robert who has rescued him from the severe depression that followed Tony's death. Marian is upset that Lyle would bring a last-minute mystery guest to this anniversary weekend and dinner party, which will also include an Italian neighbor, Laura, herself put out by the surprise appearance of her actress daughter, Nina. Cameron exploits these tensions skillfully while probing his characters' vulnerabilities. Marian is an anxious hostess and mother, fearful her baby Roland is retarded; the reserved John feels he is too dull for company; Lyle flounders without the support of easygoing Tony; Robert feels like a resented intruder; and Laura believes Nina has exposed her as a pathetic old woman. Yet Cameron has a light touch; social comedy offsets the introspection. After a difficult dinner, the novel's climax comes when a lovers' quarrel with Lyle prompts Robert to bolt for the city, leaving the others to some painful reassessment. Vigor and directness save Cameron's portrait of the chattering classes from preciosity; this fine storyteller is wise as well as clever."—Kirkus Reviews

"Cameron's second novel is so easy to visualize, so full of articulate dialogue that reading it resembles watching a movie. It's a variation upon a time-honored movie setup (cf. Rules of the Game, Intimate Lighting, The Big Chill, etc.): the old friends' get-together into which a few outsiders intrude. The former here are a fortyish couple with a new baby and a gay man whose lover (the husband's brother) died a year ago from AIDS. The latter are the gay man's much younger prospective lover and the couple's summer neighbor, an American woman who usually lives in Italy. Only the young man is not well heeled, and all are cultivated and intelligent, so that when fallout from the past abrades the present, frayed feelings are civilly, no matter how dramatically, expressed . . . [T]his friends'-reunion story is so well done that fans of the form simply must see—er—read it."—Ray Olson, Booklist

"Poor Robert. A young painter, he's invited to the country by his new love, Lyle, a middle-aged art critic and a bit of a prig. They are off to stay with the useless John and the unappealing Marian, a rich married couple and Lyle's best friends. Their house is also where Lyle's lover Tony died, exactly one year ago, as we creepily learn. And not only was Tony Lyle's lover, he was also John's half-brother. Get off the train!, you want to yell to Robert. But by the time all the pieces are in place it's too late, and the beautifully controlled horror of the novel has begun. Tensions develop rapidly on all fronts: between the generations, between the new lovers, between the past and the present, between those with hope and those without. And just when you think that the story of this weekend is all memory and conversation, things start to happen . . . Cameron is one of our very best writers. For all fiction collections."—Brian Kenney, Brooklyn Public Library, Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



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Peter Cameron is the author of several novels, including Andorra and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You. He lives in New York City.

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  • Peter Cameron

  • Peter Cameron is the author of several novels, including Andorra and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You. He lives in New York City.

  • Peter Cameron Copyright Nina Subin