Regent’s of Paris takes place in a struggling small-town auto dealership during the tumultuous week leading up to the annual Memorial Day sale—a week rife with doomsday warnings about the Obama Administration’s corporate bailout of General Motors, and the week which will ultimately seal the dealership’s fate. Paul Stenger’s thirtieth birthday is looming and selling cars is soiling his conscience, complicating his love life, and killing his songwriting ambitions. But Paul’s problems pale in comparison to those of Jennylee Witt, a young mother navigating her workplace’s rampant sexism, a chronically-ill daughter, a deadbeat spouse, and a crisis of faith—not to mention the wealthy local photographer with a penchant for cozy test-drives. Finally, Kent Seasons, the sales manager, has come to suspect his long-promised ownership stake is being stolen from him; worse yet, his teenage daughter has seemingly fallen for the suave owner of a rival dealership. In the cutthroat realm of the American car lot, even our most cherished dreams get the hard-sell, and nobody knows this better than those whose livelihoods hinge upon closing deals and sending rubber down the road.
Praise for Regent’s of Paris
“Against the backdrop of bailouts and burnout in America’s heartland, Phillip Hurst’s Regent’s of Paris is surprisingly redemptive. The desperate work lives of his cast are undercut by their forlorn faith and ragged courage. Part Glengarry Glen Ross, part Lord of the Flies, and a pinch of A Visit From the Goon Squad, this is a terrific debut novel.”
– Brandon Hobson, National Book Award finalist and author of The Removed
“In Phillip Hurst’s darkly radiant Regent’s of Paris the machinery of torque and muscle is fast and true. The road of life is peopled by women and men, like us, who wend their way toward a horizon whose vanishing point most often signifies the desperation of unfulfilled dreams. Hurst’s novel is made of courage, more than a hint of grace, and the desire, not as uncommon as one would think, for a way home. Who can know the heart of others, who can detect the fundamental mystery of our broken lives? In Hurst’s uncanny wisdom: ‘maybe we can only see our biggest mistakes, the mistakes we love, through another’s eyes?'”
– Shann Ray, author of American Masculine, Atomic Theory 7, and The Souls of Others