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The marriage of Gerhard and Suzannah Falktopf is already in trouble when tragedy strikes on the morning of September 11, 2001. Though they escape harm when the planes crash into the towers, husband and wife are suddenly cast into an unpredictable psychological space that allows their repressed selves, and their sharp differences, to rise to the surface. With their young son and nanny in tow, they head for the safety of the Hamptons. But despite their soft landing in this cocoon of privilege, the unleashed demons will push them to their psychic limits -- so much so that by the next morning they will hardly recognize each other. Taking place over a manic twenty-four hours, A Day at the Beach is a fast-paced, razor-sharp story whose personal tragedy contains sparks of dark humor about American life pre- and post-9/11. Helen Schulman has crafted a powerful portrait of a marriage in crisis, framed by one of the darkest events in our country's history.
When the Bergamots move from a comfortable upstate college town to New York City, they're not quite sure how they'll adapt-or what to make of the strange new world of well-to-do Manhattan. Soon, though, Richard is consumed by his executive role at a large New York university, and Liz, who has traded in her academic career to oversee the lives of their children, is hectically ferrying young Coco around town. Fifteen-year-old Jake is gratefully taken into the fold by a group of friends at Wildwood, an elite private school. But the upper-class cocoon in which they have enveloped themselves is ripped apart when Jake wakes up one morning after an unchaperoned party and finds an email in his in-box from an eighth-grade admirer. Attached is a sexually explicit video she has made for him. Shocked, stunned, maybe a little proud, and scared-a jumble of adolescent emotion-he forwards the video to a friend, who then for-wards it to a friend. Within hours, it's gone viral, all over the school, the city, the world. The ensuing scandal threatens to shatter the Bergamots' sense of security and identity, and, ultimately, their happiness. They are a good family faced with bad choices, and how they choose to react, individually and at one another's behest, places everything they hold dear in jeopardy. This Beautiful Life is a devastating exploration of the blurring boundaries of privacy and the fragility of self, a clear-eyed portrait of modern life that will have readers debating their assumptions about family, morality, and the sacrifices and choices we make in the name of love.
When fifteen-year-old Jake Bergamot receives and then forwards to a friend's sexually explicit video that an eighth-grade admirer sent to him, the video goes viral within hours. The scandal that ensues threatens to shatter his family's sense of security and identity and, ultimately, their happiness. This Beautiful Life is a devastating, clear-eyed portrait of modern life that will have readers debating their assumptions about family, morality, and the choices we make in the name of love.
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