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This is a vel about the will to power of one American family, the Behls of Washington, D.C. Their world turns on secrets - family secrets, state secrets, secrets divulged, secrets misunderstood, secrets denied. At the center of the story stands Echo House, the family mansion, exerting its own field of force. Three generations of men in the Behl family Adolph - his son Axel, and his grandson Alec - as well as the women they marry and sleep with, pursue power and influence from before the New Deal through the Cold War and far past the Gulf War. They live off-the-record lives and love off-the-record women. And the women tell their story. Echo House is populated t only by actual and fictional presidents and candidates but by White House staffers, by fortune-tellers and adventuresses, by powerful journalists male and female, by lawyers and bankers young and old, honest and dishonest, by researchers and diplomats. Nearly all the characters are Beltway insiders: rumor spreaders, power brokers, secret keepers, senators, investigators, spies, would-be ambassadors, and the canniest survivor of them all, a women who in the 1950s declared her intentions to become first lady and finally succeeded.
Ward Just is the author of fourteen previous novels, including the National book Award finalist Echo House and An Unfinished Season, winner of the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Award. In a career that began as a war correspondent for Newsweek and the Washington Post, Just has lived and written in half a dozen countries, including Britain, France, and Vietnam. His characters often lead public lives as politicians, civil servants, soldiers, artists, and writers. It is the tension between public duty and private conscience that animates much of his fiction, including Forgetfulness. Just and his wife, Sarah Catchpole, divide their time between Martha's Vineyard and Paris.