The Privileges

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 10/5/2010
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $59!
    Your order must be $59 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $15.00 Save up to $7.37
  • Rent Book $8.25
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
  • The Used and Rental copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Smart, socially gifted, and chronically impatient, Adam and Cynthia Morey are so perfect for each other that united they become a kind of fortress against the world. In their hurry to start a new life, they marry young and have two children before Cynthia reaches the age of twenty-five. Adam is a rising star in the world of private equity and becomes his boss's protégé. With a beautiful home in the upper-class precincts of Manhattan, gorgeous children, and plenty of money, they are, by any reasonable standard, successful. But the Moreys' standards are not the same as other peoples.

The future in which they have always believed for themselves and their children-a life of almost boundless privilege, in which any desire can be acted upon and any ambition made real-is still out there, but it is not arriving fast enough to suit them. As Cynthia, at home with the kids day after identical day, begins to drift, Adam is confronted with a choice that will test how much he is willing to risk to ensure his family's happiness and to recapture the sense that the only acceptable life is one of infinite possibility.

The Privileges is an odyssey of a couple touched by fortune, changed by time, and guided above all else by their epic love for each other. Lyrical, provocative, and brilliantly imagined, this is a timely meditation on wealth, family, and what it means to leave the world richer than you found it.

"A transfixing account of the rise and rise of a ‘charmed couple.’ . . . Composed in Dee's typically elegant style -- gorgeous, winding sentences."—Los Angeles Times

"Dee moves from scene to scene like a cinematographer, capturing the essence of a character in a telling glimpse."—Financial Times

"Dee is a writer of skill and emotional depth. His latest, The Privileges, should catapult him to darling status—deservedly. . . . an electric, funny, tragic, loving tale."—Time Out NY

"Graceful, articulate and perceptive, and often hilariously funny...Dee's lively shimmering prose illuminates wonderfully observed dystopian moments... his writing is so full of elegance, vitality and complexity...at once funny, subversive and sympathetic."—New York Times Book Review

"Dee has a great eye for detail, physical and emotional, and invites us to watch with eyes wide open as the Morey family sails past disaster into a future most people—until they read about such matters in novels as good as this -- would think they would like to inhabit."—NPR

"A deliciously sophisticated engine of literary darkness."—The Guardian

Author Biography

Jonathan Dee is the author of four novels, most recently Palladio. He is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, a frequent contributor to Harper's, and a former senior editor of The Paris Review. He teaches in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University and the New School.

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter One

A wedding! The first of a generation; the bride and groom are just twenty- two, young to be married these days. Most of their friends flew in yesterday, and though they are in Pittsburgh, a city of half a million, they affect a good- natured snobbish disorientation, because they come from New York and Chicago but also because it suits their sense of the whole event, the magical disquieting novelty of it, to imagine that they are now in the middle of nowhere. They have all, of course, as children or teenagers, sat through the wedding of some uncle or cousin or in quite a few cases their own mother or father, so they know in that sense what to expect. But this is their first time as actual friends and contemporaries of the betrothed; and the strange, anarchic exuberance they feel is tied to a fear that they are being pulled by surrogates into the world of responsible adulthood, a world whose exit will disappear behind them and for which they feel proudly unready. They are adults pretending to be children pretending to be adults. Last night’s rehearsal dinner ended with the overmatched restaurant manager threatening to call the police. The day to come shapes up as an unstable compound of camp and import. Nine hours before they’re due at the church, many of them are still sleeping, but already the thick old walls of the Pittsburgh Athletic Club seem to hum with a lordly overenthusiasm.

 Mid- September. Since Labor Day, the western half of Pennsylvania has been caught in a late and dispiriting heat wave. Cynthia wakes up in her mother’s house, in a bed she’s awakened in only five or six times in her life, and her first thought is for the temperature. She pulls on a t- shirt in case anyone else is awake, passes her burdensome stepsister Deborah (never Debbie) sleeping in flannel pajamas half on and half off the living room couch, and slides open the door to the deck, from which she can see in the distance a few limp flags on the golf course at Fox Chapel. Cool, tolerably cool anyway, though it’s still too early to tell anything for sure. It can’t even be seven yet, she thinks. Not that she’s worried. The specter of her bridesmaids holding beer bottles to their foreheads to cool off, or of Adam wiping the sweat out of his eyes as he promises himself to her, only makes her smile. She’s not the type to fold if things don’t go perfectly; what matters most to her is that the day be one that nobody who knows her will ever forget, a day her friends will tell stories about. She turns and heads back indoors, past her own fading footprints in the heavy dew on the cedar planks of the deck.

 She never imagined a wedding in Pittsburgh, because she never had any reason to imagine it until her mother remarried and moved out here two years ago. To the extent she’d pictured it at all, Cynthia had always assumed she’d be married back in Joliet Park: but in the middle of her last semester at Colgate she learned that her father had sold their old house there, in which he had not lived for a long time; and when she announced her engagement two months later her mother Ruth went off on one of her unpacifiable jags about Cynthia’s stepfather Warren being “a part of this family” and would not stand for any implication that this was less than entirely true. To force- march these outsize personalities back to the scene of the family’s dissolution in Joliet Park, to listen to them bitch over the seating chart and over old friends whose post- divorce allegiances were sometimes painfully ambiguous, was out of the question. It would have been a gruesome sort of nostalgia,

Rewards Program

Customer Reviews

Interesting family! Interesting novel! April 16, 2011
Reading this textbook is like riding the crest of a gentle wave. Every sentence rolls you forward to the next sentence, to the next paragraph, page, chapter... before you know it, you're halfway through the textbook. I really enjoyed this book. What I ended up with was not what I expected when I first began reading. The book opens with the wedding of a young, well-educated couple in their early twenties. The details of the wedding and the entire family drama attendant to it were so well-drawn! The descriptions were great; the author goes into the minds of all the characters. Nothing was formulaic about this textbook. The book continues by focusing on the couple and their lives as young adults, adults with teenagers, and then as middle-aged successful parents with college students. I read this in two nights; I literally could not put it down. The dialogue is realistic, as are the characters. Really enjoyable.
Flag Review
Please provide a brief explanation for why you are flagging this review:
Your submission has been received. We will inspect this review as soon as possible. Thank you for your input!
The Privileges: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

Write a Review