Jessica Winter is features editor at Slate and the former culture editor of Time. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Bookforum, The Believer, and many other publications. She lives in Brooklyn.
A wryly amusing, observational story, brushing compassionately against the pitfalls of modern life. Jen is in her early 30’s, she lives with her husband in New York, she dreams of painting, of having a baby, yet finds herself trapped in a ghastly job, confined by the barriers in her own mind. I initially felt a little thrown, a little uncertain, yet as I gradually became a part of Jen’s life, I became completely absorbed by her story. Jessica Winter has the ability to point out the obvious in an originally witty style, she made me look in new directions, focus on new thoughts. I raised an eyebrow or two at Jen’s choices, yet as she floundered, I wanted to hug, to help, and I cheered her on. I recommend taking your time as you explore ‘Break in Case of Emergency’, it’s shrewdly clever, and pierces illusions with beautiful barbed intensity. ~ Liz Robinson
'Extremely funny - a satirical masterpiece that is tender and existentially-minded as well. I loved it!' Elizabeth McKenzie, author of THE PORTABLE VEBLEN'Very smart and juicy and weird and entertaining ... it reads like a chick lit plot written by Franzen' Curtis SittenfeldJen has reached her early thirties and has all but abandoned a once-promising painting career when, spurred by the economic crisis, she takes a poorly defined job at a feminist nonprofit. The foundation's aim is to empower women, but staffers spend all their time devising acronyms for imaginary programs, ruthlessly undermining one another, and stroking the ego of their boss, the larger-than-life celebrity philanthropist Leora Infinitas. Jen's complicity in this passive-aggressive hellscape only intensifies her feelings of inferiority compared to her two best friends - one a wealthy attorney with a picture-perfect family, the other a passionately committed artist - and so does Jen's apparent inability to have a baby, a source of existential panic that begins to affect her marriage and her already precarious status at the office. Jessica Winter's ferociously intelligent debut novel is a wry satire that explores the difficulty of navigating friendships as they shift to accommodate marriage and family, and the unspoken tensions that can strain even the strongest bonds.