by John Moot
Virtue explores the vulnerability and randomness of human existence through the lives of Tom and Hannah Holder, each of whom are grappling with midlife crises.
Scarred by an incident from his youth that broke up his family and left him estranged from his father, Tom has carried self-doubt, buried in a battered soul, his entire life. In the span of a few short months, Tom, now a philosophy professor, watches his adult life unravel as the college president tries to ruin his career, his wife Hannah threatens to leave him, his father is stricken with cancer, and he learns dark secrets about the past. Tom is forced to confront the person he’s become, and now loathes, before having any chance to find a path back to his marriage, his academic integrity, and his estranged father.
Hannah feels the walls closing in on her. She is sick of being a stay-at-home mom marooned in a rural college town, her teenage daughter, Madison, is the subject of anti-LBGTQ bullying, and her teenage son, Dillon, is failing at school and having run-ins with the law. Hannah wants out of a life that has grown toxic to her family and to reclaim the person she once was—a confident professional woman. But her husband, seemingly unable to manage his myriad problems, now stands in the way.
As Tom and Hannah struggle to save their marriage, they test the limits of the power of redemption and cause us to question whether we can ever truly know ourselves, much less our loved ones.
Well-written, deeply felt and very funny, John Moot’s Virtue is a pleasure to read.
Dana Isaacson, acclaimed editor.