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New Fiction Books

Last Night at Chateau Marmont

Last Night at Chateau Marmont
by Lauren Weisberger
Published 2010 by Atria Books
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781439136614

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Bestseller Weisberger's latest, deliciously naughty novel centers around normal girls left behind by their new-celeb exes--and the girls' fitting revenge! 384 pp. Brooke loved reading the dishy celebrity gossip rag "Last Night." That is, until her marriage became a weekly headline.Brooke was drawn to the soulful, enigmatic Julian Alter the very first time she heard him perform "Hallelujah" at a dark East Village dive bar.Now five years married, Brooke balances two jobs--as a nutritionist at NYU Hospital and as a consultant to an Upper East Side girls' school, where privilege gone wrong and disordered eating run rampant--in order to help support her husband's dream of making it in the music world.Things are looking up when after years of playing Manhattan clubs and toiling as an A&R intern, Julian finally gets signed by Sony. Although no one's promising that the album will ever hit the airwaves, Julian is still dedicated to logging in long hours at the recording studio. All that changes after Julian is asked to perform on the "Tonight Show "with Jay Leno--and is catapulted to stardom, literally overnight. Amazing opportunities begin popping up almost daily--a new designer wardrobe, a tour with Maroon 5, even a Grammy performance.At first the newfound fame is fun--who wouldn't want to stay at the Chateau Marmont or visit the set of one of television's hottest shows? Yet it seems that Brooke's sweet husband--the man who can't handle hot showers and wears socks to bed--is increasingly absent, even on those rare nights they're home together. When rumors about Brooke and Julian swirl in the tabloid magazines, she begins to question the truth of her marriage and is forced to finally come to terms with what she thinks she wants--and what she actually needs.

The Good Daughters

The Good Daughters
by Joyce Maynard
Published 2010 by William Morrow & Company
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780061994319

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The bestselling author of "Labor Day" returns with a spellbinding novel about friendship, family secrets, and the strange twists of fate that shape our lives "The Good Daughters " They were born on the same day, in the same small New Hampshire hospital, into families that could hardly have been less alike. Ruth Plank is an artist and a romantic with a rich, passionate, imaginative life. The last of five girls born to a gentle, caring farmer and his stolid wife, she yearns to soar beyond the confines of the land that has been her family's birthright for generations. Dana Dickerson is a scientist and realist whose faith is firmly planted in the natural world. Raised by a pair of capricious drifters who waste their lives on failed dreams, she longs for stability and rootedness. Different in nearly every way, Ruth and Dana share a need to make sense of who they are and to find their places in a world in which neither has ever truly felt she belonged. They also share a love for Dana's wild and beautiful older brother, Ray, who will leave an indelible mark on both their hearts. Told in the alternating voices of Ruth and Dana, "The Good Daughters" follows these "birthday sisters" as they make their way from the 1950s to the present. Master storyteller Joyce Maynard chronicles the unlikely ways the two women's lives parallel and intersect--from childhood and adolescence to first loves, first sex, marriage, and parenthood; from the deaths of parents to divorce, the loss of home, and the loss of a beloved partner--until past secrets and forgotten memories unexpectedly come to light, forcing them to reevaluate themselves and each other. Moving from rural New Hampshire to a remote island in British Columbia to the '70s Boston art-school scene, "The Good Daughters" is an unforgettable story about the ties of home and family, the devastating force of love, the healing power of forgiveness, and the desire to know who we are.

Freedom

Freedom
by Jonathan Franzen
Published 2010 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780374158460

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From the National Book Award-winning author of "The Corrections" comes a darkly comedic novel about family. Franzen's intensely realized characters struggle to learn how to live in an ever-confusing world--one with the temptations and burdens of liberty, the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, and the heavy weight of empire. Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul--the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter--environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man--she was doing her small part to build a better world.But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz--outre rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival--still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become "a very different kind of neighbor," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes?In his first novel since "The Corrections," Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.

The Widower's Tale

The Widower's Tale
by Julia Glass
Published 2010 by Pantheon Books
Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780307377920

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In a quirky farmhouse outside Boston, 70-year-old Percy Darling enjoys a vigorous but mostly solitary life until, in a complex scheme to help his oldest daughter through a crisis, he allows a progressive preschool to move into his barn. The abrupt transformation of Percy's rural refuge into a lively, youthful community compels him to reexamine the choices he's made. In a historic farmhouse outside Boston, seventy-year-old Percy Darling is settling happily into retirement: reading novels, watching old movies, and swimming naked in his pond. His routines are disrupted, however, when he is persuaded to let a locally beloved preschool take over his barn. As Percy sees his rural refuge overrun by children, parents, and teachers, he must reexamine the solitary life he has made in the three decades since the sudden death of his wife. No longer can he remain aloof from his community, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love.

One relationship Percy treasures is the bond with his oldest grandchild, Robert, a premed student at Harvard. Robert has long assumed he will follow in the footsteps of his mother, a prominent physician, but he begins to question his ambitions when confronted by a charismatic roommate who preaches--and begins to practice--an extreme form of ecological activism, targeting Boston's most affluent suburbs.

Meanwhile, two other men become fatefully involved with Percy and Robert: Ira, a gay teacher at the preschool, and Celestino, a Guatemalan gardener who works for Percy's neighbor, each one striving to overcome a sense of personal exile. Choices made by all four men, as well as by the women around them, collide forcefully on one lovely spring evening, upending everyone's lives, but none more radically than Percy's.

With equal parts affection and satire, Julia Glass spins a captivating tale about the loyalties, rivalries, and secrets of a very particular family. Yet again, she plumbs the human heart brilliantly, dramatically, and movingly.