The Perfect Age: A Novel
Author: Heather Skyler
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
A sun-baked, beautifully observed debut for readers who loved Amy and Isabelle—a mother and daughter come of age in Las Vegas. Helen is just fifteen, lanky and striking. She is a lifeguard at the pool at The Dunes hotel this summer—her first job, a step toward independence in a world beginning to treat her as an adult and a woman. Her mother, Kathy, watching Helen grow up, suddenly finds herself in a place equally uncertain: her children getting older, her stable marriage perhaps too stable, the slow days of summer leaving her adrift. When she meets Helen's boss, the manager at the pool, she chooses an affair that opens her to the idea of a different sort of life. Following Helen and Kathy through three summers, this novel is an intimate picture of two sexual awakenings under one roof and their aftershocks on a family. Heather Skyler shows us that the validity of life's deepest experiences—love, betrayal, acceptance—is never compromised by age. Reading group guide included.
The Perfect Age
Author: Heather Skyler
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
When her daughter starts a job as a lifeguard, Kathy, feeling adrift in her marriage, begins an affair with her daughter's boss, in a story that traces the sexual awakenings of both mother and daughter.
The Awkward Age
Author: Francesca Segal
"A very smart, soulful, compelling, elegantly written domestic novel about a wedged-together family, and what can go wrong when teenage children decide they have minds (and hormones) of their own." —Nick Hornby “A spry and accomplished comedy of manners.” —The New York Times Book Review “They've chosen the one thing that will make our family life impossible. It's genius really, when you think about it. It's the perfect sabotage.” Julia Alden has fallen deeply, unexpectedly in love. American obstetrician James is everything she didn't know she wanted--if only her teenage daughter, Gwen, didn't hate him so much. Uniting two households is never easy, but when Gwen turns for comfort to James's seventeen-year-old son, Nathan, the consequences will test her mother's loyalty and threaten all their fragile new happiness. This is a moving and powerful novel about the modern family: about starting over; about love, guilt, and generosity; about building something beautiful amid the mess and complexity of what came before. It is a story about standing by the ones we love, even while they make mistakes. We would give anything to make our children happy. But how much should they ask?
Author: Claire McMillan
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Intelligent, witty, and poignant, Gilded Age presents a modern Edith Wharton heroine—dramatically beautiful, socially prominent, and just a bit unconventional—whose return to the hothouse of Cleveland society revives rivalries, raises eyebrows, and reveals the tender vulnerabilities of a woman struggling to reconcile her desire for independence and her need for love. ELEANOR HART had made a brilliant marriage in New York, but it ended in a scandalous divorce and thirty days in Sierra Tucson rehab. Now she finds that, despite feminist lip service, she will still need a husband to be socially complete. A woman’s sexual reputation matters, and so does her family name. Ellie must navigate the treacherous social terrain where old money meets new: charitable benefits and tequila body shots, inherited diamonds and viper-bite lip piercings, country house weekends and sexting. She finds that her beauty is a powerful tool in this world, but it has its limitations, even liabilities. Through one misstep after another, Ellie mishandles her second act. Her options narrow, her future prospects contract, until she faces a desperate choice. With a keen eye for the perfect detail and a heart big enough to embrace those she observes, Claire McMillan has written an assured and revelatory debut novel about class, gender, and the timeless conundrum of femininity.
A Certain Age
Author: Beatriz Williams
The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers brings the Roaring Twenties brilliantly to life in this enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York Society, brimming with lush atmosphere, striking characters, and irresistible charm. As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband. But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice. Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.
The Seventh Age
Author: Jason Montgomery
Publisher: Verse Five Publishing
Winning the ultimate battle of survival does not require staying alive… The planet awakes, unleashing a hidden fury. Caught at the epicenter of the first earthquake in centuries, Dabaz Huavossa soon finds it was only the harbinger of a vast misery to follow. And though his utopian world is suddenly disintegrating around him, Dabaz craves more than mere survival. Unwittingly binding himself to an unexpected mentor—the highest leader of his land, a member of the strange race of people called the Immortals— Dabaz is forced to confront life’s deepest questions, while increasingly mistrusting this one who claims to hold the answers. Dabaz fights a growing dread: all life is pointless when trapped in a rush to the grave. His scrabbling for a life worth living pits him against all he holds dear and blinds him to the fact that he is equipping his increasingly savage society for the ultimate battle—the battle with no neutral ground—the battle in which choosing whom to trust is choosing whether to live or die—the battle that determines not just Dabaz’s fate, but the ultimate fate of mankind. A story that defies easy categorization, The Seventh Age deftly combines many subsets of speculative fiction: it is a scientific/metaphysical, utopian/dystopian, mythical/historical, distorted hero’s journey interwoven with philosophical rumination. The reader will be engrossed, will certainly be called upon to think, and will perhaps come away profoundly changed.
The Golden Age
Author: Joan London
A Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2016 Winner of the 2015 Prime Minister's Award for Fiction Joan London, author of Gilgamesh, gives her readers an immensely satisfying and generous-hearted story about displacement, recovery, resilience, and love with The Golden Age. Thirteen-year-old Frank Gold’s family, Hungarian jews, escape the perils of World War II to the safety of Australia in the 1940s. But not long after their arrival Frank is diagnosed with polio. He is sent to a sprawling children’s hospital called The Golden Age, where he meets Elsa, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen, a girl who radiates pure light. Frank and Elsa fall in love, fueling one another’s rehabilitation, facing the perils of polio and adolescence hand in hand, and scandalizing the prudish staff of The Golden Age. Meanwhile, Frank and Elsa’s parents must cope with their changing realities. Elsa’s mother Margaret, who has given up everything to be a perfect mother, must reconcile her hopes and dreams with her daughter’s sickness. Frank’s parents, transplants to Australia from a war-torn Europe, are isolated newcomers in a country that they do not love and that does not seem to love them. Frank’s mother Ida, a renowned pianist in Hungary, refuses to allow the western deserts of Australia to become her home. But her husband, Meyer, slowly begins to free himself from the past and integrate into a new society. With tenderness and humor, The Golden Age tells a deeply moving story about illness and recovery. It is a book about learning to navigate the unfamiliar, about embracing music, poetry, death, and, most importantly, life. Awards 2015 Patrick White Literary Award 2015 Kibble Literary Award Queensland Premier's Award for Fiction New South Wales Premier's People's Choice Award From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Judith Warner
An exploration of the world of modern motherhood describes the author's early parenting experiences in Paris and how they contrasted with anxiety-marked parenting expectations in the United States, drawing on mainstream media sources to identify what is shaping American cultural assumptions about parenting. By the author of Hilary Clinton: The Inside Story. Reprint.
Author: Natasha Friend
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Depicting with humor and insight the pressure to be outwardly perfect, this novel for ages 10-13 shows how one girl develops compassion for her own and others’ imperfections. For 13-year-old Isabelle Lee, whose father has recently died, everything's normal on the outside. Isabelle describes the scene at school with bemused accuracy--the self-important (but really not bad) English teacher, the boy that is constantly fixated on Ashley Barnum, the prettiest girl in class, and the dynamics of the lunchroom, where tables are turf in a all-eyes-open awareness of everybody's relative social position. But everything is not normal, really. Since the dealth of her father, Isabelle's family has only functioned on the surface. Her mother, who used to take care of herself, now wears only lumpy, ill-fitting clothes, cries all night, and has taken every picture of her dead husband and put them under her bed. Isabelle tries to make light of this, but the underlying tension is expressed in overeating and then binging. As the novel opens, Isabelle's little sister, April, has told their mother about Isabelle's problem. Isabelle is enrolled in group therapy. Who should show up there, too, but Ashley Barnum, the prettiest, most together girl in class.
A Dangerous Age
Author: Ellen Gilchrist
Publisher: Algonquin Books
The winner of the National Book Award returns with a moving story of a family of women drawn together by the trials of the times.The women in the Hand family are no strangers to either controversy or sadness. Those traits seem, in fact, to be a part of their family s heritage, one that stretches back through several generations and many wars. "A Dangerous Age" is a celebration of the strength of these women and of the bonds of blood and shared loss that hold them together. Louise, Winifred, and Olivia are reconnecting the pieces of their lives and rediscovering love, but each is unwittingly on a collision course with a seemingly distant war that is really never more than a breath away. By turns humorous and heartbreaking, this finely honed novel about the centuries-old struggle for women who are left to carry on with life when their men go off to war is by a writer the "Washington Post" says should be declared a national cultural treasure. Gilchrist rides the tension--between seeing events and motivations clearly and becoming clouded by personal and material concerns--on a perfect edge . . . [She] raises a multitude of issues in her novel . . . but the overriding questions here are about this war . . . about our motivations, our best interests, our moral and spiritual obligations. "The Boston Globe" Ellen Gilchrist has helped define Southern writing . . . [She] has shown herself especially skilled at capturing the texture of women s lives, and this novel is no different . . . "A Dangerous Age" brings into stark relief some of the difficulties facing the United States, and does it with Gilchrist s effective forthrightness. "Chicago Tribune" Gilchrist can create wonderful female characters, contemporary women who come alive on the page and linger long after the book is over. "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" The writing is polished; all her details matter. "The Seattle Times" [Gilchrist] gives this novel a humanity easily embraced by the reader. [Her] trademark supple prose and droll sense of humor are on full display. "Booklist, " starred review"
The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher: Random House
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People ∙ O: The Oprah Magazine ∙ Financial Times ∙ Kansas City Star ∙ BookPage ∙ Kirkus Reviews ∙ Publishers Weekly ∙ Booklist NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “A stunner.”—Justin Cronin “It’s never the disasters you see coming that finally come to pass—it’s the ones you don’t expect at all,” says Julia, in this spellbinding novel of catastrophe and survival by a superb new writer. Luminous, suspenseful, unforgettable, The Age of Miracles tells the haunting and beautiful story of Julia and her family as they struggle to live in a time of extraordinary change. On an ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia awakes to discover that something has happened to the rotation of the earth. The days and nights are growing longer and longer; gravity is affected; the birds, the tides, human behavior, and cosmic rhythms are thrown into disarray. In a world that seems filled with danger and loss, Julia also must face surprising developments in herself, and in her personal world—divisions widening between her parents, strange behavior by her friends, the pain and vulnerability of first love, a growing sense of isolation, and a surprising, rebellious new strength. With crystalline prose and the indelible magic of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker gives us a breathtaking portrait of people finding ways to go on in an ever-evolving world. “Gripping drama . . . flawlessly written; it could be the most assured debut by an American writer since Jennifer Egan’s Emerald City.”—The Denver Post “Pure magnificence.”—Nathan Englander “Provides solace with its wisdom, compassion, and elegance.”—Curtis Sittenfeld “Riveting, heartbreaking, profoundly moving.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.
The Age of Orphans
Author: Laleh Khadivi
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Told with an evocative richness of language that recalls Michael Ondaatje or Anita Desai, the story of Reza Khourdi is that of the 20th century everyman, cast out from the clan in the name of nation, progress and modernity who cannot help but leave behind a shadow that yearns for the impossible dreams of love, land and home. Before following his father into battle, he had been like any other Kurdish boy: in love with his Maman, fascinated by birds and the rugged Zagros mountains, dutiful to his stern and powerful Baba. But after he becomes orphaned in a massacre by the armies of Iran's new Shah, Reza Pahlavi I.; he is taken in by the very army that has killed his parents, re-named Reza Khourdi, and indoctrinated into the modern, seductive ways of the newly minted nation, careful to hide his Kurdish origins with every step. The Age of Orphans follows Reza on his meteoric rise in ranks, his marriage to a proud Tehrani woman and his eventual deployment, as Capitan, back to the Zagros Mountains and the ever-defiant Kurds. Here Reza is responsible for policing, and sometimes killing, his own people, and it is here that his carefully crafted persona begins to fissure and crack.
The Tragic Age
Author: Stephen Metcalfe
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn't always work--not when your twin sister, Dorie, has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, not when frazzled soccer moms in two ton SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs, and not when your guidance counselor keeps asking why you haven't applied to college. Billy's life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Twom and Billy become one another's mutual benefactor and friend. At the same time, Billy is reintroduced to Gretchen Quinn, an old and adored friend of Dorie's. It is Gretchen who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul. With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. And with Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is-Billy doesn't trust happiness. It's the age he's at. The tragic age. Stephen Metcalfe's brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel, The Tragic Age, will teach you to learn to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.
The Age of Reinvention
Author: Karine Tuil
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
An international bestseller and finalist for the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary award, The Age of Reinvention is a "suspenseful...Gatsby-esque odyssey...laced with provocative observations of prejudice, politics, and sexism" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). Top Manhattan criminal defense attorney Sam Tahar seems to have it all: fame, fortune, an enviable marriage to a prominent socialite, and two wonderful children. But his success is built on a lie—he isn’t the person he pretends to be. Growing up a poor Muslim immigrant inside a grimy Paris apartment tower, Samir Tahar seemed destined for a life on the margins—until he decided “he was going to cut through the bars of his social jail cell, even if he had to do it with his teeth.” At law school in Montpelier, France, he became fast friends with Jewish student Samuel Baron. The two were inseparable until the irresistible Nina, torn between the men, ultimately chose Samuel. Samir fled to America, where he assumed Samuel’s identity and background while his former friend remained stuck in a French suburb, a failed, neurotic writer seething at Samir’s overseas triumphs. Decades later, the three meet again in this dark, powerful story of a deeply tangled love triangle that becomes subsumed by the war on terror. Called “a masterful novel” (Paris Match) and “a work of great magnitude” (Le Figaro), The Age of Reinvention is an intriguing tale about the wonderful possibilities and terrible costs of remaking oneself.
Author: Heather Skyler
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
For Fans of Julia Glass and Ann Hood, a Novel about How the Choices We Make Last a Lifetime Vegas Girls begins when three former high school friends, now in their mid-thirties, reunite in their hometown of Las Vegas—a city they vowed to escape as soon as they could—to celebrate their new lives and revisit old haunts. But what starts out as a week-long, sun-kissed reunion takes a strange turn as mysterious gifts appear, familiar faces pop up in unexpected places, and each woman reveals a secret, private quest. Ramona is searching for a son she gave up for adoption before their high-school graduation. Jane is trying to leave her husband of eleven years, even with her two kids in tow. And Ivy, who has a new baby, is haunted by the memory of her mother abandoning her twenty years ago—and she has begun spotting her everywhere. Add to this a darkly charismatic ex-boyfriend of Ivy’s who won’t give up hope of rekindling their romance, and a strange, new friend of Jane’s in need of help, and the week quickly begins to unravel. Set against desert heat, swimming pools, and casino lights, and told masterfully through five different points of view, Vegas Girls is about how we navigate the present while carrying the ghosts of our past; about growing up with one eye glued to the rearview mirror; and about what happens when the past you thought you left behind turns out to have been with you all along.