"In this very funny, wise, and rueful novel, the cranky hero thrashes around in the coils of guilt, atonement, desire, and shame once he learns that a distant relative was a slave trader. (There's other bad stuff, not nearly so distant.) But really, he's no more culpable than we all are—and no less."

James Traub, author of Judah Benjamin: Counselor to the Confederacy and Foreign Policy magazine columnist