After the Fall

After the Fall

by Victoria Roberts
     
 

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"This is a wonderful, forever book." —George Booth, cartoonist for The New YorkerAfter the Fall introduces us to a brilliantly eccentric family from New York’s Upper East Side. Pops, a self-made millionaire, is a mad inventor who gleans his inspiration from popovers and Raquel Welsh. Mother is a fabulously dressed but mercurial socialite from Buenos

Overview

"This is a wonderful, forever book." —George Booth, cartoonist for The New YorkerAfter the Fall introduces us to a brilliantly eccentric family from New York’s Upper East Side. Pops, a self-made millionaire, is a mad inventor who gleans his inspiration from popovers and Raquel Welsh. Mother is a fabulously dressed but mercurial socialite from Buenos Aires whose weapon of choice is a croquet mallet. Young Alan, our earnest and studious narrator, and his drama-queen little sister, Alex, love their parents but must turn to their good-natured housekeeper and cook for a better sense of reality.
One fateful day, Alan returns home to find that the family has gone bust, not even a penny to be found. The next morning, to the children’s surprise, the family wakes up in Central Park along with the entire contents of their penthouse arranged just as before—art, furniture, pugs, and all. Aided by their two loyal housekeepers and fed by the maitre d’ from their favorite restaurant, the family makes Central Park into a comfortable and creative home.But soon the strains of life—and the weather, which is getting chilly—threaten to tear apart the parents’ marriage. As the holiday season approaches, the children rise to the challenge of bringing their family back together.With more than two hundred drawings and featuring kimono-clad squirrels and a visit by a Yeti, this delicious tale is a love letter to family, creativity, and New York.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What’s remarkable about the New Yorker cartoonist Roberts’s illustrated novel is the whimsy and timelessness she maintains throughout the narrative and drawings, given that the story follows a wealthy family’s loss of fortune. They go to bed one night in their Upper East Side apartment and awake the following morning in Central Park, everything from their apartment “in its usual place, only out-of-doors, with trees growing in the middle.” The story is told through the eyes of 10-year-old Alan, who describes in quirky detail his inventor father, dramatic Argentine mother, and younger Sis, who spends her time staging Shakespeare and Beckett. Making the park habitable are their servants—who live for their telenovelas—Pop’s inventions, and some colorful two- and four-legged friends. But when the weather turns cold and Mother rides off on horseback with another man, they go on a quest to find her. Pop’s fantastical inventions, like the HOP (Horn of Plenty), which creates food out of fumes from favorite restaurants, allow them to live in playful comfort and may remind readers of Eloise and The Phantom Tollbooth. A wonderful children’s story for adults, with all the fanciful Manhattan-centric aspects that entails. Illus. Agent: Lindsay Edgecombe, the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Boston Globe
[A] loopy, charming fantasy... Part graphic novel, part extended New Yorker cartoon, After the Fall is more surreal than social realism.... With its echoes of Salinger’s Glass family, as well as any in a Wes Anderson film, Alan’s eccentric clan is memorably strange and winning....— Kate Tuttle
Patricia Bosworth
“After the Fall is one of a kind. With her distinctive, intelligent drawings and tongue-in-cheek humor, legendary cartoonist Victoria Roberts has crafted a delightfully quirky coming-of-age fantasy for adults. I couldn’t put it down.”
Kevin Baker
“Victoria Roberts is wonderful! And so is her madcap journey through the ups and downs of today’s New York. After the Fall is written and illustrated with all the wit and irrepressible glee that makes her New Yorker cartoons such a treat.”
Lisa Lutz
“Mad, brilliant, stunning and hilarious…I simply adore it!”
Kate Tuttle - Boston Globe
“[A] loopy, charming fantasy... Part graphic novel, part extended New Yorker cartoon, After the Fall is more surreal than social realism.... With its echoes of Salinger’s Glass family, as well as any in a Wes Anderson film, Alan’s eccentric clan is memorably strange and winning....”
Roz Chast
“A total delight.”
Kirkus Reviews
A wealthy New York City family hits the skids and is forced to move into Central Park. Famously the staff cartoonist for The New Yorker, Roberts brings her strengths and whimsical sense of humor to bear in this heavily illustrated but lightly written novel. The dramatis personae introduced here include Pops, an inventor whose creations have made the family filthy rich; Mother, a bone-skinny matriarch with a perpetual cigarette; Sis, a young performer destined for fringe theater; our narrator, the sweet-natured brother, Alan; as well as servants Gudelia and Usvelia and three pugs. When the family loses everything, they mysteriously find themselves living in the midst of Central Park. Not quite homeless, the family winds up bringing everything, from their couch to their doorman, with them. It's all quite idyllic at first, as Mother kills swans in the park for coq au vin, and Pops works on inventions like the Diplomatix, an effervescent tablet that teaches how to think like the French. But as Christmas looms, the family dynamics start coming apart at the seams. The illustrations, as one might imagine, are the book's most winning attribute. Roberts is consistent in her portrayals of the odd family while simultaneously throwing in absurdities, like the sea monster Sis imagines lives in the pond and the Yeti that comes to visit during the winter. But for all the wonders of Roberts' illustrations, the story is fitfully funny in a style reminiscent of Wes Anderson films. Alan is particularly funny, popping out lines like, "I'm learning Italian. This morning at the Met, I followed a group led by a female guide in Italian. I'm going to acquire Japanese, too, via osmosis." Those who can't stand the dandy-ish style of The New Yorker may find this avant-garde children's book for adults off-putting. For those who value absurdity and have a soft spot for anthropomorphic animals, it's a richly illustrated treat. A tale full of juvenile embellishment aimed squarely at sophisticated adults.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393073553
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/12/2012
Edition description:
Illustrate
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,159,697
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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Meet the Author

Victoria Roberts has been a contracted cartoonist for The New Yorker since 1988. Her illustrations have also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Time. She lives in New York City.

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