City Paper is not for tourists
Harry Rent, the hero of Mark Sarvas’ debut novel, Harry, Revised, is tormented by his inability to feel torment: His wife died while getting a boob job that was prompted by his infidelities, and though Harry feels complicit, the tears aren’t coming. So, hire a therapist? Take a few weeks off and do some soul-searching? Nope. Instead, Harry concocts a scheme to woo a young waitress by doing good deeds for one of her colleagues. Orthopedic shoes, unsurprisingly, aren’t exactly the way to a woman’s heart, and Harry, Revised is built on comic set pieces that expose how difficult it can be to de-selfishize oneself. Sarvas enthusiastically boosts literary fiction on his blog, The Elegant Variation, and his novel’s PR dares to invoke John Updike. Read Harry, Revised for what it is, though: a likable rom-com novel, featuring the kind of boyish-yet-earnest protagonist that Steve Martin mastered when he decided to get serious in the ’90s. Sarvas discusses and signs copies of his work at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1307 19th St. NW. Free. (202) 785-1133.