Retiring history professor Perry Gregson wonders whether it had to be this way. Should he have known to turn down a semester abroad so he would be with his little sister when she passed away? Could he have avoided turning her death into a template for severing his romantic bonds? Is there a way to escape from the cell of self and really know and love another? The Use of Regret, a novel in 100+ intricately interconnected sections, is Perry’s eternally recirculating journey through the truths and fictions and fantasies of his life, a trip that points up parallels between the human mind and the United States, each of which is simultaneously a single entity and a constitution of hundreds of millions of living parts.
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