New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice |A Parnassus First Editions Club Pick | Powell’s Indispensable Book Club Pick
The lives of two close-knit couples are irrevocably changed by an untimely death in the latest from Tessa Hadley, the acclaimed novelist and short story master who “recruits admirers with each book” (Hilary Mantel).
Alexandr and Christine and Zachary and Lydia have been friends since they first met in their twenties. Thirty years later, Alex and Christine are spending a leisurely summer’s evening at home when they receive a call from a distraught Lydia: she is at the hospital. Zach is dead.
In the wake of this profound loss, the three friends find themselves unmoored; all agree that Zach, with his generous, grounded spirit, was the irreplaceable one they couldn’t afford to lose. Inconsolable, Lydia moves in with Alex and Christine. But instead of loss bringing them closer, the three of them find over the following months that it warps their relationships, as old entanglements and grievances rise from the past, and love and sorrow give way to anger and bitterness.
Late in the Day explores the complex webs at the center of our most intimate relationships, to expose how, beneath the seemingly dependable arrangements we make for our lives, lie infinite alternate configurations. Ingeniously moving between past and present and through the intricacies of her characters’ thoughts and interactions, Tessa Hadley once again “crystallizes the atmosphere of ordinary life in prose somehow miraculous and natural” (Washington Post).
Do you have digestion problems due to stress? Do you have problems with authority? How many alcoholic drinks to you consume a week? Would you rather be a florist or a truck driver?
These are some of the questions that determine if you have what it takes to survive at South Pole Station, a place with an average temperature of -54°F and no sunlight for six months a year. Cooper Gosling has just answered five hundred of them. Her results indicate she is abnormal enough for Polar life.
Cooper’s not sure if this is an achievement, but she knows she has nothing to lose. Unmoored by a recent family tragedy, she’s adrift at thirty and—despite her early promise as a painter—on the verge of sinking her career. So she accepts her place in the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Program and flees to Antarctica, where she encounters a group of misfits motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own. The only thing the Polies have in common is the conviction that they don’t belong anywhere else. Then a fringe scientist arrives, claiming climate change is a hoax. His presence will rattle this already-imbalanced community, bringing Cooper and the Polies to the center of a global controversy and threatening the ancient ice chip they call home.
Split Estate opens with devastating scenes of a family at a horrific juncture: the wife of Arthur King and mother of his two teenage children, Celia and Cam, has recently committed suicide, jumping out the window of their New York apartment.
Charlotte Bacon's luminous new novel tracks the King family as it struggles to survive in the months that follow. Arthur, an attractive lawyer who has always been edgy about city dwelling, decides they must move back to his home state of Wyoming for the summer, where his mother, Lucy, welcomes her orphaned grandchildren and her wounded son to her much loved but diminished ranch. From the perspective of each protagonist in turn, we watch shy Celia and handsome Cam, distraught Arthur and brave Lucy face themselves and their future in a Wyoming that is beautiful and consoling, yet beset by new threats of destruction.
A split estate is a form of real property in which the mineral rights have been split off from the other land uses to which the owner is entitled. This has transformed the landscape the Kings love and jeopardized Lucy's independence. In truth, the Kings' very lives have become split estates—for Celia, on the brink of adolescence; for Cam, approaching independent adulthood; for Arthur, divided between the West and New York. Split Estate is a heartrending depiction of an American family sturggling to deal with irrevocable damage to their lives and surroundings.
Turning thirty was never supposed to be like this. Ten years ago, Ben, Lindsey, Chuck, Alison, and Jack graduated from New York University and went out into the world, fresh-faced and full of dreams for the future. But now Ben's getting a divorce; Lindsey's unemployed; Alison and Chuck seem stuck in ruts of their own making; and Jack is getting more publicity for his cocaine addiction than his multimillion-dollar Hollywood successes.
Suddenly, turning thirty-- past the age their parents were when they were born, older than every current star athlete or pop music sensation-- seems to be both more meaningful and less than they'd imagined ten years ago.
Plan B, Jonathan Tropper's wonderful debut novel, is about more than friendship, love, celebrity, addiction, kidnapping, or even turning thirty-- it's a heartfelt comic riff on what it means to be an adult against your will, to be single when you thought you'd have a family, to discover you are not, in fact, immortal, and to learn that Star Wars is as good a life lesson today as it was when you were six years old.