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On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband's presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House-and 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 seek-one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility. As Charlie's 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 tapestry-a novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare.Praise for American Wife"Curtis 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 Russo"What 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 lady's. Curtis Sittenfeld has written a novel as impressive as it is improbable."-Kurt AndersenFrom the Hardcover edition.
In the summer of 1991, Hannah Gavener is fourteen. 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, as Hannah moves from Philadelphia to Boston to Albuquerque, she finds that the answers to love's most bewildering 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 who's not your soul mate an act of maturity or an admission of defeat? And if you move to another state for a man who might not love you back, are you being brave, or pathetic? Full of honesty and humour, The Man of My Dreamsis an unnervingly insightful and beautifully written examination of the outside forces and personal choices that make us who we are. 'The Man of My Dreamsis so free of tricks, the honesty is so startling, you feel there's a writer here who isn't trying to beguile you but to lay out some plain, raw truth about emotions and sex. This is a courageous, refreshing novel' Alice Munro 'The Man of My Dreamscould be the women's novel of the summer, the one they talk about, dissect, analyze and compare with their own experiences. In this insightful book, Sittenfeld asks: Does every woman deserve a soul mate?' USA Today 'Sittenfeld proves herself once again to be a rigorous and wily stylist. She writes clear, funny, unadorned prose, and packs her pages with clever observations . . . The Man of My Dreamsshows us a writer who is in it for the long haul' New York Times
Curtis Sittenfeld's debut novel, Prep, is an insightful, achingly funny coming-of-age story as well as a brilliant dissection of class, race, and gender in a hothouse of adolescent angst and ambition. Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when her father drops her off in front of her dorm at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. She leaves her animated, affectionate family in South Bend, Indiana, at least in part because of the boarding school's glossy brochure, in which boys in sweaters chat in front of old brick buildings, girls in kilts hold lacrosse sticks on pristinely mown athletic fields, and everyone sings hymns in chapel. As Lee soon learns, Ault is a cloistered world of jaded, attractive teenagers who spend summers on Nantucket and speak in their own clever shorthand. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of-and, ultimately, a participant in-their rituals and mores. As a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider and is both drawn to and repelled by other loners. By the time she's a senior, Lee has created a hard-won place for herself at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her carefully crafted identity within the community is shattered. Ultimately, Lee's experiences-complicated 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 crush; conflicts with her parents, from whom Lee feels increasingly distant, coalesce into a singular portrait of the painful and thrilling adolescence universal to us all. From 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 Ault--complicated 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 crush--coalesce 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
Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling 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 CURTIS SITTENFELD American Wife "A smart and sophisticated portrait . . . Sittenfeld has an astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers' heads."--The Washington Post "A gripping epic of public and private lives . . . a gem."--Good Housekeeping "The novel is a gift, a sweeping exploration of a woman's odyssey from obscurity to fame and the painful decisions she must make along the way."--The Miami Herald Prep "Prep conveys the inner world of an entirely typical teenage girl with remarkable warmth. . . . One of the most tender and accurate portraits of adolescence in recent memory."--San Francisco Chronicle "Prep may be as addictive as M&Ms, but it's also a tart and complex tale of social class, race, and gender politics."--The Boston Globe "Hilarious . . . a richly textured narrative."--The New Yorker The Man of My Dreams "[Sittenfeld] writes with humor, intelligence, insight and heart. She's also as good at sharp social satire as she is at tender mercies."--The Boston Globe "Pure, elegant prose; true, perfect dialogue; and emotion so searing it might just leave a scar."--The Miami Herald