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Curtis Sittenfeld is a graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was taught by Marilynne Robinson. As well as four bestselling novels, Curtis has also written for publications such as The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Guardian, Glamour and Time magazine, where she interviewed Michelle Obama.
Author photo © Josephine Sittenfeld
Sittenfeld's wryly hilarious and insightful new collection, HELP YOURSELF, illuminates human experience and gracefully upends our assumptions about class and race, envy and disappointment, gender dynamics and celebrity. Suburban friends fall out after a racist encounter at a birthday party is caught on video and posted on Facebook; an illustrious Manhattan film crew are victims of their own snobbery when they underestimate a pre-school teacher from the Mid-West; and a group of young writers fight about love and narrative style as they compete for a prestigious bursary. Connecting each of these three stories is Sittenfeld's truthful yet merciless eye, as her characters stagger from awkwardness, to humiliation and, if they're lucky, to reconciliation. Full of tenderness and compassion, this dazzling collection celebrates our humanity in all its pettiness and glory.
Can a retelling of ‘Pride and Prejudice' possibly work? Well, this novel proves it can. The Austen Project consists of six contemporary authors, each retelling one of Jane Austen’s novels. Just imagine being paired with Pride and Prejudice, where on earth would you even begin? Well…Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of American Wife, has moved the setting to Cincinnati, has included a reality TV show, sex before marriage and increased the ages of both Elizabeth and Jane to 38 and 40 - gulp! Curtis Sittenfeld has been particularly clever, keeping the essence of the story complete, yet cranking it up to be an eminently readable 21st century relationship story. Mr and Mrs Bennet are an absolute delight (and fright), transferring perfectly and making me both chuckle and cringe, I also have to admit to now seeing Jane Austen’s Elizabeth with new eyes. So, I embraced the changes as I read, stopped analysing and just enjoyed this thoroughly modern tale. The titles in the Austen Project series are: Sense & Sensibility by Joanna TrollopeNorthanger Abbey by Val McDermidEmma by Alexander McCall SmithEligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Can a retelling of ‘Pride and Prejudice' possibly work? Well, this novel proves it can. The Austen Project consists of six contemporary authors, each retelling one of Jane Austen’s novels. Just imagine being paired with Pride and Prejudice, where on earth would you even begin? Well…Curtis Sittenfeld, bestselling author of American Wife, has moved the setting to Cincinnati, has included a reality TV show, sex before marriage and increased the ages of both Elizabeth and Jane to 38 and 40 - gulp! Curtis Sittenfeld has been particularly clever, keeping the essence of the story complete, yet cranking it up to be an eminently readable 21st century relationship story. Mr and Mrs Bennet are an absolute delight (and fright), transferring perfectly and making me both chuckle and cringe, I also have to admit to now seeing Jane Austen’s Elizabeth with new eyes. So, I embraced the changes as I read, stopped analysing and just enjoyed this thoroughly modern tale. May 2016 Book of the Month. The titles in the Austen Project series are: Sense & Sensibility by Joanna TrollopeNorthanger Abbey by Val McDermidEmma by Alexander McCall SmithEligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
For identical twins, Kate and Violet are about as unlike as two peas from the same pod can be. Except in one respect - they share a hidden gift. But after Kate inadvertently reveals their secret when they are thirteen years old, their lives are set on diverging paths. Twenty years later Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. Violet is single, and lives a much more flamboyant and eccentric existence. Then one day Violet ignites a media storm by predicting a major earthquake in the St Louis area where they live. As the day Violet has announced for the earthquake draws nearer, Kate must attempt to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister, and to face truths about herself she has long tried to deny.
January 2015 Guest Editor Harriet Evans on American Wife... Ooh, this book is so good. I’m saving it to reread for when I really need it. It is so absorbing, so sweeping, and yet it is also so intricate and beautifully written. It is a really important book I think and it should have won every prize going. (If it had been written by and about a man I bet it would have). Alice Blackwell is a quiet girl from the Midwest who happens to become First Lady and this is her story and if you haven’t read it, I envy you coming to it for the first time. Sarah Broadhurt's view... This is an absolute joy to read. It follows the life of an ordinary American girl, with a teenage tragedy hanging over her, who falls for an ambitious, rich and privileged boy whose sights are on the White House. It is actually based on Laura Bush’s life, I’ve no idea how faithfully for it concentrates on her small-town upbringing by a hardworking mum and a wacky lesbian grandmother. We go right through to the White House, but this is not a political novel, it is a magnificent family drama. Comparison: Audrey Niffenegger, William Kowalski, Jonathan Franzen.
The influence of Malory Towers as a child made me wish I went to boarding school instead of a boring day school. Midnight feasts, all your friends with you in your dormitory; surely it must be like one big slumber party? Reading Prep would have cured me of that longing. At the beautiful and prestigious Massachusetts school, Ault, things aren't all jolly hockey sticks and pillow fights. Instead we're transported to an institution with a rigid social hierarchy and taken on a dark teenage journey. Worth a read for the spot on adolescent voice of the main character, Lee Fiora.
Curtis Sittenfeld's follow up to the fabulous Prep is another coming of age tale, although set in an entirely different world to the privileged sphere of boarding school she previously depicted. The Man of My Dreams follows Hannah Gavener through adolescence to her late twenties, delving into the complex relationships she forms with men. If you want a light and fluffy 'boy meets girl' read then this isn't one for you, but if you're after an insightful novel exploring love and relationships then I'd recommend it.
'Nobody else writes with such precision and amusement about the absolute inability of men and women to understand each other' RED MAGAZINE 'Recommended for anyone who enjoys short stories. She really doesn't shy away from sticky, nuanced subjects ... delivered with absolute poise. Delicious' PANDORA SYKES, The High-Low podcast ____________________________________ Sittenfeld's wryly hilarious and insightful new collection, HELP YOURSELF, illuminates human experience and gracefully upends our assumptions about class and race, envy and disappointment, gender and celebrity. Suburban friends fall out after a racist encounter at a birthday party is caught on video and posted on Facebook; an illustrious Manhattan film crew are victims of their own snobbery when they underestimate a pre-school teacher from the Mid-West; and a group of young writers fight about love and narrative style as they compete for a prestigious bursary. Connecting each of these three stories is Sittenfeld's truthful yet merciless eye. Full of tenderness and compassion, this dazzling collection celebrates our humanity in all its pettiness and glory. A STYLIST Best Books for Autumn title Featured in the Sunday Times Guide to Culture Praise for CURTIS SITTENFELD: 'You won't want these stories to end' REESE WITHERSPOON 'Perfect miniatures in deadpan prose' GUARDIAN 'Clear-eyed and compulsive' MAIL ON SUNDAY
WHAT IF HILLARY RODHAM HAD TURNED DOWN BILL CLINTON'S PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE? 'Awfully opinionated for a girl' is what they call Hillary as she grows up in her Chicago suburb. Smart, diligent, and a bit plain, that's the general consensus. Then Hillary goes to college, and her star rises. At Yale Law School, she continues to be a leader- and catches the eye of driven, handsome and charismatic Bill. But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm No. The rest, as they say, isn't history. How might things have turned out for them, for America, for the world itself, if Hillary Rodham had really turned down Bill Clinton? With her sharp but always compassionate eye, Sittenfeld explores the loneliness, moral ambivalence and iron determination that characterise the quest for high office, as well as the painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world ruled by men. Uncannily astute and witty in the telling, RODHAM is a brilliant reimagining - an unmissable literary landmark and truly a novel of our times.
'This addictive novel is the SLIDING DOORS of American politics. Gripping' STYLIST 'Startlingly good. One of my favourite writers' KATE ATKINSON ____________ 'Awfully opinionated for a girl' is what they call Hillary as she grows up in her Chicago suburb. Smart, diligent, and a bit plain, that's the general consensus. Then Hillary goes to college, and her star rises. At Yale Law School, she continues to be a leader- and catches the eye of driven, handsome and charismatic Bill. But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm No. How might things have turned out for them, for America, for the world itself, if Hillary Rodham had really turned down Bill Clinton? With her sharp but always compassionate eye, Sittenfeld explores the loneliness, moral ambivalence and iron determination that characterise the quest for high office, as well as the painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world ruled by men. _____________________________ 'A lot of fun. A wonderful sad dream of what might have happened' GUARDIAN 'It ends up being a love letter to a type: the female intellectual, who is given none of the licence of her less talented male peers. At the end, i found myself saying Oh My God' OBSERVER 'An explosive new book' GRAZIA 'Getting inside a living person's head sounds like a colossally bad idea, but Sittenfeld makes it convincing here, just as she did with a character based on First Lady Laura Bush in her 2008 novel, AMERICAN WIFE' BBC CULTURE 'An ingenious yet plausible glimpse of an alternative reality' THE SPECTATOR 'Sittenfeld's RODHAM offers the cartharsis of uncomplicated regret' NEW YORKER 'A nauseating, moving, morally suggestive, technically brilliant book that made me think more than any in recent memory' NPR 'Deviously clever . . . Sittenfeld's Hillary is both a player in the Game of Thrones and a romance novel heroine. She's a brilliant badass who has found her voice and knows how to use it. She's whoever she wants to be' O: THE OPRAH MAGAZINE 'Of all the SLIDING DOORS fantasies offered by the last 40 years of American office, this may be the most mouth-watering. THE BIG ISSUE 'Fascinating. Rich-with-possibilities concept' SAINSBURY'S MAGAZINE
A dazzling, smart and razor-sharp story collection by Curtis Sittenfeld, Sunday Times bestselling author of Rodham and American Wife. The theme that unites these stories is how even the cleverest people tend to misread others, and how much we all deceive ourselves. Sharp and tender, funny and wise, they show Sittenfeld's knack for creating real, believable characters that spring off the page, while also skewering contemporary mores with brilliant dry wit. 'DO-OVER', ONE OF THE STORIES IN THIS COLLECTION, WAS SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 SUNDAY TIMES EFG SHORT STORY AWARD.
Random House presents the audiobook edition of You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld, read by Emily Rankin and Mark Deakins. In 'The World Has Many Butterflies', a married woman flirts with a man she meets at parties by playing You think it, I'll say it, putting into words the bitchy things she guesses he's thinking about their fellow guests. But she is in for a shock when, in time, she finds out what was really in his mind. 'The Nominee' sees Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, confessing her surprising true feelings about a woman journalist she has sparred with over the years. In 'Gender Studies', a visiting academic sleeps with her taxi driver, for what turns out to be all the wrong reasons. The theme that unites these stories in this dazzling first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld is how even the cleverest people tend to misread others, and how much we all deceive ourselves. Sharp and tender, funny and wise, this collection shows Sittenfeld's knack for creating real, believable characters, while also skewering contemporary mores with brilliant dry wit.*'Do-Over, one of the stories in this dazzling first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld,is shortlisted for the 2018 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award*'Most people I know who have read anything by Curtis Sittenfeld would read anything else the woman wrote, me included' The Times
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 SUNDAY TIMES EFG SHORT STORY AWARD: 'Do-Over', one of the stories in this dazzling, smart and razor-sharp first collection by Curtis Sittenfeld, Sunday Times bestselling author of Eligible and American Wife. In 'The World Has Many Butterflies', a married woman flirts with a man she meets at parties by playing You think it, I'll say it, putting into words the bitchy things she guesses he's thinking about their fellow guests. But she is in for a shock when, in time, she finds out what was really in his mind. 'The Nominee' sees Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, confessing her surprising true feelings about a woman journalist she has sparred with over the years. In 'Gender Studies', a visiting academic sleeps with her taxi driver, for what turns out to be all the wrong reasons. The theme that unites these stories is how even the cleverest people tend to misread others, and how much we all deceive ourselves. Sharp and tender, funny and wise, they show Sittenfeld's knack for creating real, believable characters that spring off the page, while also skewering contemporary mores with brilliant dry wit.
';Every bit as smart, sensitive, funny, and genuine as her phenomenally popular novels,'* a dazzling collection from theNew York Timesbestsellingauthor ofPrep, American Wife,andEligible';I really loved all the characters in this book. They're so complex and interesting, and in every story, you'll find them going through these pivotal moments in their lives.'Reese Witherspoon (Reese's Book Club x Hello SunshineBook Pick) A suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie. A high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. A shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate's seemingly enviable life.Curtis Sittenfeld has established a reputation as a sharp chronicler of the modern age who humanizes her subjects even as she skewers them. Now, with this first collection of short fiction, her ';astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers' heads' (The Washington Post) is showcased like never before. Throughout the ten stories inYou Think It, I'll Say It,Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided. With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we're all thinkingif only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.*Booklist(starred review)Praise for You Think It, I'll Say It';[Curtis] Sittenfeld makes writing lively and diverting fiction look easy, though each deceptively simple and breezy story is masterfully paced and crafted. . . . Witty and buoyant, Sittenfeld delivers her characters to her audience with bemused perspicacity and above all affection. . . . Sittenfeld proves adept at quickly establishing characters in whom the reader feels inclined to invest immediately.'Chicago Tribune ';Perfectly paced, witty and laced with unexpected twists: Every story here sticks its landing. . . . Whatever [Sittenfeld] writes, we'll read it.'People ';Razor-sharp, often hilarious . . . A witty, breezy, zeitgeist-y collection.'USA TODAY
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER'The book of the summer' The Times'Sheer joy... Giddy and glam and a hearty update of Pride and Prejudice' Jessie Burton, author of The MiniaturistThe Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.Liz and Jane are good daughters. They've come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family's BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . .Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he's a reality TV star too. But Chip's friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father's mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn't only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER *;Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible tackles gender, class, courtship, and family as Curtis Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR ANDTHE TIMES (UK) This version of the Bennet familyand Mr. Darcyis one that you have and haven't met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to helpand discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray. Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master's degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won't discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane's fortieth birthday fast approaches. Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip's friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.Praise forEligible';Even the most ardent Austenite will soon find herself seduced.'O: The Oprah Magazine ';Blissful . . . Sittenfeld modernizes the classic in such a stylish, witty way you'd guess even Jane Austen would be pleased.'People (book of the week) ';[A] sparkling, fresh contemporary retelling.'Entertainment Weekly';[Sittenfeld] is the ideal modern-day reinterpreter. Her special skill lies not just in her clear, clean writing, but in her general amusement about the world, her arch, pithy, dropped-mike observations about behavior, character and motivation. She can spot hypocrisy, cant, self-contradiction and absurdity ten miles away. She's the one you want to leave the party with, so she can explain what really happened. . . . Not since Clueless, which transported Emma to Beverly Hills, has Austen been so delightedly interpreted. . . . Sittenfeld writes so wellher sentences are so good and her story so satisfying. . . . As a reader, let me just say: Three cheers for Curtis Sittenfeld and her astute, sharp and ebullient anthropological interest in the human condition.'Sarah Lyall, The New York Times Book Review ';A clever, uproarious evolution of Austen's story.'The Denver Post ';If there exists a more perfect pairing than Curtis Sittenfeld and Jane Austen, we dare you to find it. . . . Sittenfeld makes an already irresistible story even more beguiling and charming.'Elle';A playful, wickedly smart retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.'BuzzFeed ';Sittenfeld is an obvious choice to re-create Jane Austen's comedy of manners. [She] is a master at dissecting social norms to reveal the truths of human nature underneath.'The Millions';A hugely entertaining and surprisingly unpredictable book, bursting with wit and charm.'The Irish Times ';An unputdownable retelling of the beloved classic.'PopSugar
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERNAMED ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR BY Slate *; Daily Candy *; St. Louis Post-Dispatch *; The Guardian (U.K.)';Novelists get called master storytellers all the time, but Sittenfeld really is one. . . . What might be most strikingly excellent about Sisterland is the way Sittenfeld depicts domesticity and motherhood.'Maggie Shipstead, The Washington Post ';Psychologically vivid . . . Sisterland is a testament to [Curtis Sittenfeld's] growing depth and assurance as a writer.'Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times ';[Sittenfeld's] gifts are in full effect with this novel, and she uses them to create a genuinely engrossing sense of uncertainty and suspense.'Sloane Crosley, NPR's All Things ConsideredCurtis Sittenfeld,author of American Wife and Prep, returns with a mesmerizing novel of family and identity, loyalty and deception, and the delicate line between truth and belief. From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar ';senses'innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people's secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them. Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she's long tried to deny. Funny, haunting, and thought-provoking, Sisterland is a beautifully written novel of the obligation we have toward others, and the responsibility we take for ourselves. With her deep empathy, keen wisdom, and unerring talent for finding the extraordinary moments in our everyday lives, Curtis Sittenfeld is one of the most exceptional voices in literary fiction today.Praise for Sisterland ';What's most captivating about Sisterland is the intimate, intense portrayal of identical twin sisters. . . . [The novel] unfolds like a good prophecyinevitable and shocking.'San Francisco Chronicle';The accomplished Sittenfeld . . . is as skillful as ever at developing an intriguing premise and likable characters. . . . Sittenfeld's affectionate take on sibling rivalry is spot-on.'People ';The power of [Sittenfeld's] writing and the force of her vision challenge the notion that great fiction must be hard to read. She is a master of dramatic irony, creating fully realized social worlds before laying waste to her heroines' understanding of them. . . . Her prose [is] a rich delight.'The Boston Globe ';Wise and often wickedly entertaining . . . Readers who have siblingsespecially women with sisterswill likely come away feeling as if the author really is psychic.'USA TodayFrom the Hardcover edition.
One of the most exceptional voices in literary fiction today, Curtis Sittenfeld is renowned for her rich prose, irresistible storytelling, and fascinating characters who struggle with the rules of gender, race, and privilege. Now, in this convenient eBook bundle, here are her blockbuster bestselling and critically acclaimed novels, Prep and American Wife. PREP Named One of the Top Ten Books of the Year by The New York Times Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when she leaves her family behind in Indiana to attend the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. Over the next four years, her experiences at Aultcomplicated relationships with teachers, intense friendships with other girls, an all-consuming preoccupation with a classmate who is less than a boyfriend and more than a crushcoalesce into a singular portrait of the universal pains and thrills of adolescence. AMERICAN WIFE Named One of the Top Ten Books of the Year by Time, People, and Entertainment Weekly A bookish only child born in the 1940s and raised in a small Wisconsin town, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president. So when the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family sweeps her off her feet, she is surprised to find herself admitted into a world of privilege. As he unexpectedly becomes governor and then president, she discovers that she is married to a man she fundamentally disagrees with yet deeply loves. And upon the advent of her husband's second term, Alice must finally face questions nearly impossible to answer. Praise for Curtis Sittenfeld ';One of the most tender and accurate portraits of adolescence in recent memory.'San Francisco Chronicle, on Prep ';A tart and complex tale of social class, race, and gender politics.'The Boston Globe, on Prep ';[Sittenfeld's] dialogue captures teenage humor brilliantly, and her characters show remarkable depth.'Chicago Tribune, on Prep ';An intelligent, bighearted novel about a controversial political dynasty.'Entertainment Weekly, on American Wife ';Smart and sophisticated . . . Sittenfeld has an astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers' heads.'The Washington Post, on American Wife ';An intimate and daring story . . . Alice is a woman of considerable intellect, compassion and character.' USA Today, on American Wife
From the Sunday Times bestselling author of RODHAM, AMERICAN WIFE, YOU THINK IT, I'LL SAY IT and HELP YOURSELF 'A rigorous and wily stylist. She packs her pages with clever observations without appearing to be trying' NEW YORK TIMES 'Grave, good-humoured, deeply engaging' GUARDIAN ____________ Hannah is a confused fourteen-year-old. In the magazines she reads, celebrities plan elaborate weddings; in Hannah's own life, her parents' marriage is crumbling. Over the next decade and a half, love throws her some complicated questions. At what point can you no longer blame your adult failures on your messed up childhood? Is settling for someone who's not your soulmate an act of maturity or an admission of defeat? And if you move to another state for a guy who might not love you back, are you being plucky - or just pathetic? _______ Readers love THE MAN OF MY DREAMS: *****'I love everything Curtis Sittenfeld writes and this was no exception. Excellent' *****'Very realistic portrayal of an emotionally abusive atmosphere. Insightful, thoughtful' *****'Curtis Sittenfeld is a magnificent writer. Fantastic'
_____________ From the bestselling author of RODHAM, AMERICAN WIFE and YOU THINK IT, I'LL SAY IT. 'Sittenfeld writes girls and women as they truly are, with shades of light and dark, with and without grace, apologetic as well as fearless' GUARDIAN 'PREP might just be my favourite book' PANDORA SYKES 'Sittenfeld shares with Salinger a knack of capturing, in effortless prose, a teenager mindset' THE TIMES _____________ Lee Fiora is a shy fourteen-year-old when she leaves small-town Indiana for a scholarship at Ault, an exclusive boarding school in Massachusetts. Her head is filled with images from the school brochure of handsome boys in sweaters leaning against old brick buildings, girls running with lacrosse sticks across pristine athletics fields, everyone singing hymns in chapel. But as she soon learns, Ault is a minefield of unstated rules and incomprehensible social rituals, and Lee must work hard to find - and maintain - her place in the pecking order. _____________ 'PREP is more than a coming of age story - it's a study of social class ... and Sittenfeld renders it with astonishing deftness and clarity.' JENNIFER EGAN 'Straightforward, serious, funny.' London Review of Books 'Sharp, caustic and brilliantly observed' Observer
On what might become one of the most significant days in her husbands presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White Houseand the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, almost in opposition to itself.A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.As Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her newfound good fortune. And when Charlie eventually becomes President, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seekone of power and influence, privilege and responsibility. As Charlies tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making: How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?In Alice Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld has created her most dynamic and complex heroine yet. American Wife is a gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and the exigencies of fate into a brilliant tapestrya novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare.Praise for American WifeCurtis Sittenfeld is an amazing writer, and American Wife is a brave and moving novel about the intersection of private and public life in America. Ambitious and humble at the same time, Sittenfeld refuses to trivialize or simplify people, whether real or imagined. Richard RussoWhat a remarkable (and brave) thing: a compassionate, illuminating, and beautifully rendered portrait of a fictional Republican first lady with a life and husband very much like our actual Republican first ladys. Curtis Sittenfeld has written a novel as impressive as it is improbable.Kurt AndersenFrom the Hardcover edition.
Being raised in an unstable household makes you understand that the world doesnt exist to accommodate you, which, in Hannahs observation, is something a lot of people struggle to understand well into adulthood.from The Man of My DreamsIn her acclaimed debut novel, Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld created a touchstone with her pitch-perfect portrayal of adolescence. Her prose is as intensely realistic and compelling as ever in The Man of My Dreams, a disarmingly candid and sympathetic novel about the collision of a young womans fantasies of family and love with the challenges and realities of adult life.Hannah Gavener is fourteen in the summer of 1991. In the magazines she reads, celebrities plan elaborate weddings; in Hannahs own life, her parents marriage is crumbling. And somewhere in between these two extremesjust maybelie the answers to loves most bewildering questions. But over the next decade and a half, as she moves from Philadelphia to Boston to Albuquerque, Hannah finds that the questions become more rather than less complicated: At what point can you no longer blame your adult failures on your messed-up childhood? Is settling for someone whos not your soul mate an act of maturity or an admission of defeat? And if you move to another state for a guy who might not love you back, are you being pluckyor just pathetic?None of the relationships in Hannahs life are without complications. Theres her father, whose stubbornness Hannah realizes shes unfortunately inherited; her gorgeous cousin, Fig, whose misbehavior alternately intrigues and irritates Hannah; Henry, whom Hannah first falls for in college, while hes dating Fig; and the boyfriends who love her more or less than she deserves, who adore her or break her heart. By the time shes in her late twenties, Hannah has finally figured out what she wants mostbut she doesnt yet know whether shell find the courage to go after it. Full of honesty and humor, The Man of My Dreams is an unnervingly insightful and beautifully written examination of the outside forces and personal choices that make us who we are.From the Hardcover edition.