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At once darkly comedic and moving, this witty exploration of female friendship, envy, and misguided ambition by the author of the number-one bestseller Drowning Ruth, deliciously satirizes the desire to shine in the world.In All is Vanity, Margaret and Letty, best friends since childhood and now living on opposite coasts, reach their mid-thirties and begin to chafe at their sense that they are not where they ought to be in life. Margaret, driven and overconfident, decides the best way to rectify this is to quit her job and whip out a literary tour de force. Frustrated almost immediately and humiliated at every turn, Margaret turns to Letty for support. But as Letty, a stay-at-home mother of four, begins to feel pressured to make a good showing in the upper-middle-class Los Angeles society into which her husband's new job has thrust her, Margaret sees a plot unfolding that's better than anything she could make up. Desperate to finish her book and against her better nature, she pushes Letty to take greater and greater risks, and secretly steals her friend's stories as fast as she can live them. Hungry for the world's regard, Margaret rashly sacrifices one of the things most precious to her, until the novel's suspenseful conclusion shows her the terrible consequences of her betrayal. Widely celebrated for her debut novel, Drowning Ruth, Christina Schwarz once again proves herself to be a writer of remarkable depth and range. Like Drowning Ruth, All is Vanity probes into the mysteries of the human heart and uncovers the passions that drive ordinary people to break the rules in pursuit of their own desires.From the Hardcover edition.
The Atria Summer 2013 Beach-Read Bag: A free collection of thirteen excerpts from novels by some of our favorite writers.There's nothing that goes better with beach season than a delicious novel. With that in mind, we present Atria's Summer 2013 Beach-Read Bag: a free collection of 13 excerpts from novels by some of our favorite writers. Selections include: The Secret Keeper by Kate MortonThe Daughters of Mars by Thomas KeneallyThe Edge of the Earth by Christina SchwartzFive Days by Douglas KennedyChildren of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar DelijaniThe Sea of Tranquility by Katja MillayForever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins ReidGolden Boy by Abigail TarttelinThe Lavender Garden by Lucinda RileyWith All My Love by Patricia ScanlonThe Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira ShahThe Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen BrownWaiting for Jules by Tamara N. Houston No matter whether you're on a plane traveling to your getaway destination or on your couch planted firmly in front of the air conditioner, we've got a great story guaranteed to whisk you away on a reading vacation.
"POWERFUL . . . SUSPENSEFUL . . . RICHLY TEXTURED . . . [A] CHILLING, PRECOCIOUSLY GOOD START TO A BRIGHT NEW NOVELIST'S CAREER. " -The New York Times "[A] gripping psychological thriller . . . In the winter of 1919, a young mother named Mathilda Neumann drowns beneath the ice of a rural Wisconsin lake. The shock of her death dramatically changes the lives of her daughter, troubled sister, and husband. . . . Told in the voices of several of the main characters and skipping back and forth in time, the narrative gradually and tantalizingly reveals the dark family secrets and the unsettling discoveries that lead to the truth of what actually happened the night of the drowning. . . . Schwarz certainly succeeds at keeping the reader engrossed. " -FRANCINE PROSE Us Weekly "DEFT AND ASSURED . . . [WITH] STRONG CHARACTERS AND A PLOT LONG ON TENSION AND SURPRISES. " -Time "A strong sense of portent and unusually vivid characters distinguish this mesmerizing first novel about horrifying family secrets and nearly annihilating guilt. Drowning Ruthis a complex and rewarding debut. " -ANITA SHREVE Author ofThe Pilot's Wife "RIVETING . . . A VERY SUSPENSEFUL TALE, ONE THAT WILL KEEP READERS UP SHIVERING IN THE NIGHT. " -USA Today
Deftly written and emotionally powerful, Drowning Ruth is a stunning portrait of the ties that bind sisters together and the forces that tear them apart, of the dangers of keeping secrets and the explosive repercussions when they are exposed. A mesmerizing and achingly beautiful debut.Winter, 1919. Amanda Starkey spends her days nursing soldiers wounded in the Great War. Finding herself suddenly overwhelmed, she flees Milwaukee and retreats to her family's farm on Nagawaukee Lake, seeking comfort with her younger sister, Mathilda, and three-year-old niece, Ruth. But very soon, Amanda comes to see that her old home is no refuge--she has carried her troubles with her. On one terrible night almost a year later, Amanda loses nearly everything that is dearest to her when her sister mysteriously disappears and is later found drowned beneath the ice that covers the lake. When Mathilda's husband comes home from the war, wounded and troubled himself, he finds that Amanda has taken charge of Ruth and the farm, assuming her responsibility with a frightening intensity. Wry and guarded, Amanda tells the story of her family in careful doses, as anxious to hide from herself as from us the secrets of her own past and of that night.Ruth, haunted by her own memory of that fateful night, grows up under the watchful eye of her prickly and possessive aunt and gradually becomes aware of the odd events of her childhood. As she tells her own story with increasing clarity, she reveals the mounting toll that her aunt's secrets exact from her family and everyone around her, until the heartrending truth is uncovered.Guiding us through the lives of the Starkey women, Christina Schwarz's first novel shows her compassion and a unique understanding of the American landscape and the people who live on it.From the Hardcover edition.
In 1898, a woman forsakes the comfort of home and family for a love that takes her to a remote lighthouse on the wild coast of California. What she finds at the edge of the earth, hidden between the sea and the fog, will change her life irrevocably. Trudy, who can argue Kant over dinner and play a respectable portion of Mozart's Serenade in G major, has been raised to marry her childhood friend and assume a life of bourgeois comfort in Milwaukee. She knows she should be pleased, but she's restless instead, yearning for something she lacks even the vocabulary to articulate. When she falls in love with enigmatic and ambitious Oskar, she believes she's found her escape from the banality of her preordained life. But escape turns out to be more fraught than Trudy had imagined. Alienated from family and friends, the couple moves across the country to take a job at a lighthouse at Point Lucia, California--an unnervingly isolated outcropping, trapped between the ocean and hundreds of miles of inaccessible wilderness. There they meet the light station's only inhabitants--the formidable and guarded Crawleys. In this unfamiliar place, Trudy will find that nothing is as she might have predicted, especially after she discovers what hides among the rocks. Gorgeously detailed, swiftly paced, and anchored in the dramatic geography of the remote and eternally mesmerizing Big Sur, The Edge of the Earth is a magical story of secrets and self-transformation, ruses and rebirths. Christina Schwarz, celebrated for her rich evocation of place and vivid, unpredictable characters, has spun another haunting and unforgettable tale.
The dazzling new novel from the author of DROWNING RUTH - a huge international bestseller. As the novel opens Jon is receiving intimate e-mail messages from his girlfriend, Freddi, while his wife, Ginny, works outside in the garden. If Jon and Ginny had been able to have the children they wanted, perhaps Freddi wouldn't have had the impact she did. It was Ginny who gave Jon a chance of happiness after his tough upbringing with his bitter mother Marie and drunk father Bud. Surely Jon and Ginny could still be happier than Marie and Bud ever managed to be? Back in the 1960s, Marie and Bud were in love and their future was bright. Jealousy, betrayal and revenge got in the way, though, and drove the perfect couple into a nightmare marriage. Can the cruel mistakes of the past finally be left behind, or are their consequences to reverberate for ever into future generations?
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