#FridayReads: The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias

The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias


I should have told. Julie’s right: I would have saved dozens of others. Jeff, Julie, Sam, the academy kids, the Huck Finn boys, everyone else was ignorant or greedy or scared or confused or overwhelmed by bullies, but I was strong enough—I could’ve pushed him away. I did push him away. I saved myself and let everyone else suffer. Me and the god of creation—we’re the villains of this story.



Brian and Jeff were best friends, growing up together in New York City in the late 1960s. Then something happened that drove a wedge between them, ending both their friendship and their childhood, something that neither ever spoke about . . . at least until their shared secret resurfaced some forty years later, forcing them to reunite and, along with Jeff’s cousin Julie, to face the consequences of their years of silence.


In The Wisdom of Perversity, Rafael Yglesias, the critically acclaimed, bestselling novelist and screenwriter and the author of A Happy Marriage, winner of the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize, and Fearless, the basis for the cult film by the same name, has crafted a novel that tells the stories of three childhood friends who join together as adults to acknowledge the ways in which their lives were altered by the actions of a predator, a predator who now, many years later, has been exposed by more recent victims yet is on the verge of escaping punishment–thanks to his wealth and influence.


Damaged in different ways by the events of the past but all sharing the same feelings of guilt and anger for allowing this man to go unpunished, leaving him free to abuse others, Julie, Jeff, and Brian band together to force a public outcry that will assure that he will finally face justice. With a tone that cleverly mixes humor with stark reality, The Wisdom of Perversity is a groundbreaking novel that by giving a voice to the youthful victims of sexual abuse will inspire both praise and debate.



Rafael Yglesias is a novelist and screenwriter, the son of writers Jose Yglesias and Helen Yglesias, who instilled in him the need to aim for psychological realism in his writing. Raised in Manhattan, he dropped out of high school to finish his first novel, Hide Fox, and All After, which was published in 1972. After writing three novels by the age of twenty-one, he stopped writing books between 1976 and 1984 and concentrated on starting a family, making a living by writing screenplays, none of which was produced. 


He returned to novels in 1986 with Hot Properties, followed by Only Children in 1988, The Murderer Next Door in 1990, Fearless in 1993, and Dr. Neruda’s Cure for Evil in 1996. He also resumed writing screenplays, with the first to be produced, Fearless, based on his own novel. In all he has had five films produced. After the publication of Dr. Neruda’s Cure for Evil, Yglesias took another break from writing novels, mostly because of the illness and death of his wife. He returned to novels with the publication of A Happy Marriage, an autobiographical story of his first marriage. It was awarded the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and became a bestseller. His website is www.rafaelyglesias.com.

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