The Country Life: A Novel

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"Calamity Jane Eyre" arrives at "Cold Comfort Farm" when a hapless young woman with a mysterious past takes a job with an eccentric family of British gentry; a brilliant comedy of manners and identity by a Whitbread-winning young author.

Stella Benson, eager to change her life, answers a classified ad and arrives in a tiny Sussex village that's home to a family slightly larger than life. Stella's hopes for the Maddens may be high, but her station among them--as au pair to their irascible son Martin--is undeniably low. What drove her to leave home, job, and life in London for such rural ignominy? Why has she severed all ties with her family? Why is she so reluctant to discuss her past? And who, exactly, is Edward?

The Country Life is a rich and subtle novel about embarrassment, awkwardness, and being alone; about families, or the lack of them; and about love in some peculiar guises. Rachel Cusk, widely acclaimed in England, makes her American debut with an utterly charming, captivating novel about one young woman's adventures in self-discovery.

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About the author

Rachel Cusk's debut, Saving Agnes, won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel in 1993. She lives in London.

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3.6
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Additional Information

Publisher
Picador
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Published on
Feb 17, 2015
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781466891654
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR BEST BOOK OF 2009
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WINNER OF THE PEN USA AWARD FOR FICTION


A fiercely funny and touching debut novel about a young girl trying to find out the truth behind her sister's death

I have a sister who died. Did I tell you this already? I did but you don't remember, you didn't understand the code . . . She died a year ago, but in my mind sometimes it's five minutes. In the morning sometimes it hasn't even happened yet. For a second I'm confused, but then it all comes back. It happens again.

Fear doesn't come naturally to Mathilda Savitch. She prefers to look right at the things nobody else can bring themselves to mention: for example, the fact that her beloved older sister is dead, pushed in front of a train by a man still on the loose. Her grief-stricken parents have basically been sleepwalking ever since, and it is Mathilda's sworn mission to shock them back to life. Her strategy? Being bad.

Mathilda decides she's going to figure out what lies behind the catastrophe. She starts sleuthing through her sister's most secret possessions—e-mails, clothes, notebooks, whatever her determination and craftiness can ferret out. More troubling, she begins to apply some of her older sister's magical charisma and powers of seduction to the unraveling situations around her. In a storyline that thrums with hints of ancient myth, Mathilda has to risk a great deal—in fact, has to leave behind everything she loves—in order to discover the truth.

Mathilda Savitch bursts with unforgettably imagined details: impossible crushes, devastating humiliations, the way you can hate and love your family at the same moment, the times when you and your best friend are so weak with laughter that you can't breathe. Startling, funny, touching, odd, truthful, page-turning, and, in the end, heartbreaking, Mathilda Savitch is an extraordinary debut. Once you make the acquaintance of Mathilda Savitch, you will never forget her.

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Nicky Malone, a public relations flack, hasn't seen ex-boyfriend Tony Boltanski in five years, when a contentious, high-stakes, and slightly nutty nurses' strike brings them together again. Despite their separation and the fact that they're both seeing other people, they still share the same interests: fighting for the little guy -- in this case, the beleaguered nurses at a small Catholic hospital that has just been taken over by an enormous health care conglomerate -- and fighting each other.

While struggling with the strike and her growing feelings for the still exasperating, pigheaded Tony, Nicky also tries to cope with her nagging widowed mother, who desperately wants Nicky married; a slick boss who promises clients more than Nicky can possibly deliver; and an officious assistant who has read too many articles about cutthroat career women. But for Nicky, those troubles pale in comparison to dealing with a bumbling romance between two cousins from opposite sides of her family: Louise, a professional matchmaker with a chaotic love life, and Johnny, whose love for Louise hasn't stopped him from becoming engaged to another woman.

Can Nicky help a group of hardworking nurses pull off an unlikely victory against a corporate giant? Can she force Johnny to see the error of his ways and declare his love for Louise? And can she ever make the right choice between her current beau and the guy who got away? Warmly amusing and sparkling with insight and keen wit, The Side of the Angels is a refreshing, realistic look at the demands -- and rewards -- of career, commitment, Catholicism, and unforgettable love.
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