Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty: A Novel

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"A timely, sophisticated tale [that] explores what happens when a charmed life loses its luster.” –O Magazine

From the award-winning author of the new collection Awayland, an imaginative novel about a wealthy New England family in the 1960s and '70s that suddenly loses its fortune—and its bearings.


An NPR Best Book of 2016
One of Best Books of Summer O Magazine
One of The 12 Summer Books That Everyone Will Be Talking About –Harper’s Bazaar
One of 20 Books Perfect for Your Summer Vacay Refinery29
One of 22 Summer Books You Won’t Want to Miss –Huffington Post
One of 19 Summer Books that Everyone Will be Talking About – Elle.com
One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2016 –The Millions
One of 30 Best New Books for Summer 2016 –Good Housekeeping
One of 30 Books You Should Read this Summer Chicago Tribune

Labor Day, 1976, Martha's Vineyard. Summering at the family beach house along this moneyed coast of New England, Fern and Edgar—married with three children—are happily preparing for a family birthday celebration when they learn that the unimaginable has occurred: There is no more money. More specifically, there's no more money in the estate of Fern's recently deceased parents, which, as the sole source of Fern and Edgar's income, had allowed them to live this beautiful, comfortable life despite their professed anti-money ideals. Quickly, the once-charmed family unravels. In distress and confusion, Fern and Edgar are each tempted away on separate adventures: she on a road trip with a stranger, he on an ill-advised sailing voyage with another woman. The three children are left for days with no guardian whatsoever, in an improvised Neverland helmed by the tender, witty, and resourceful Cricket, age nine.Brimming with humanity and wisdom, humor and bite, and imbued with both the whimsical and the profound, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is a story of American wealth, class, family, and mobility, approached by award-winner Ramona Ausubel with a breadth of imagination and understanding that is fresh, surprising, and exciting.
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About the author

Ramona Ausubel is the author of the novel No One Is Here Except All of Us, winner of the PEN Center USA Fiction Award and the VCU Cabell First Novel Award, and finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award. She is also the author of the story collections Awayland and A Guide to Being Born, and has been published in The New Yorker, One Story, The Paris Review Daily, and Best American Fantasy

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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Jun 14, 2016
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780698410855
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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One of Glamour’s Best Books of Summer * An Us Weekly Trending Title
“A delicious beach read.” –People
“Relatable characters round out a fun, fast read.” –Good Housekeeping
“A compelling, suspenseful tale.” –Kirkus Reviews
“The perfect summer read.” –Booklist

How well do you ever really know the family next door?

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US. It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs, she’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour, and she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear that Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.
 
“Excellent and peculiar… Ausubel’s imagination…wants to offer consolation for how ghastly things can get, a type of healing that only reading can provide. All 11 of these stories are deeply involving.” –New York Times Book Review

“Funny, endearing short stories…Each tale looks to the future in its own particular, touching way.” –Harper’s Bazaar

An inventive story collection that spans the globe as it explores love, childhood, and parenthood with an electric mix of humor and emotion.

Acclaimed for the grace, wit, and magic of her novels, Ramona Ausubel introduces us to a geography both fantastic and familiar in eleven new stories, some of them previously published in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. Elegantly structured, these stories span the globe and beyond, from small-town America and sunny Caribbean islands to the Arctic Ocean and the very gates of Heaven itself. And though some of the stories are steeped in mythology, they remain grounded in universal experiences: loss of identity, leaving home, parenthood, joy, and longing.

Crisscrossing the pages of Awayland are travelers and expats, shadows and ghosts. A girl watches as her homesick mother slowly dissolves into literal mist. The mayor of a small Midwestern town offers a strange prize, for stranger reasons, to the parents of any baby born on Lenin's birthday. A chef bound for Mars begins an even more treacherous journey much closer to home. And a lonely heart searches for love online--never mind that he's a Cyclops. 

With her signature tenderness, Ramona Ausubel applies a mapmaker's eye to landscapes both real and imagined, all the while providing a keen guide to the wild, uncharted terrain of the human heart.
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