Benjamin Markovits's first novel, The Syme Papers, was a splendidly dense, funny and meticulously satisfying tale woven around an academic narrator's attempts to rescue the reputation of an eighteenth-century geologist and adventurer. (Weighing in at over 600 pages, however, some found it a little too meticulous.) His second novel, Either Side of Winter, is a much more measured – and brief – affair.
Set in Manhattan over the course of a year, and drawing its characters from the staff and students of an upscale high school, the novel is really a collection of four interwoven character sketches, each essentially a different take on the relationship between fathers and daughters. (Indeed, in America the