Living Room: A Novel

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The follow-up to her highly praised debut story collection, The First Hurt, Rachel Sherman?s Living Room is a beautiful and disarmingly direct portrait of a family in trouble. With the tone of a modern-day Jewish The Ice Storm set in Long Island, imbued with Alice Munro?s fascination with personal history, Living Room is a deep exploration of the ripple effects of mental illness on a family, as well as a look at generational differences in mating and marriage, and a wry, wise ...

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Living Room: A Novel

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Overview

The follow-up to her highly praised debut story collection, The First Hurt, Rachel Sherman’s Living Room is a beautiful and disarmingly direct portrait of a family in trouble. With the tone of a modern-day Jewish The Ice Storm set in Long Island, imbued with Alice Munro’s fascination with personal history, Living Room is a deep exploration of the ripple effects of mental illness on a family, as well as a look at generational differences in mating and marriage, and a wry, wise look at suburban angst.

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Editorial Reviews

Cameron Martin
With perfect pacing, Sherman rotates the action among Abby, her mother and her grandmother, emphasizing the loneliness and secrecy that pervades three generations of women, as well as the fear that a revelation of secrets will make their spaces more cramped and uncomfortable, less suitable for living.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Sherman's riveting debut novel (after the collection The First Hurt) examines the dreams and disappointments of teenager Abby; her mother, Livia; and Abby's grandmother, twice-widowed Headie. Each of the women harbors a secret none of the others suspect: Abby drowns her crippling insecurity in alcohol; Livia has an eating disorder; and Headie's encroaching senility obscures a secret about her son, Jeffrey. Each, caught up in her own secret, neglects to notice the damage her preoccupation causes others. Vividly drawn secondary characters expand the story's breadth—Abby's bad-news friend Jenna; Jorgen, a Swedish au pair whose bad judgment nearly kills Abby; Simone, a lesbian psychiatrist Livia is attracted to for reasons she isn't quite sure of; and Jeffrey, who acts as a narrative linchpin. Unsentimental yet deeply felt, this tale examines what bubbles under the surface of a supposedly happy Long Island family. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890447533
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2011

    a novel that will challenge you--in a good way

    Rachel Sherman's work was recommended by a friend and in the first few chapters it came across as quite dark--the flaps warned it would be so, but I wasn't sure if I could be sympathetic to such sharply-drawn characters--a mother with an eating disorder, an ignored teen daughter, a grandmother slipping into dementia so quietly and alone hardly anyone noticed. However, the middle of the book moved each of these characters outward and in doing so, they came into their own illuminated by metaphors and texture, their very human confusions and pains, loves, unflinchingly explored, real to the bone. I ended up truly respecting a writer such as Ms. Sherman. She goes to the heart of human frailities, yet once in, she writes like a surgeon might slice, seeking not to harm but to heal what within us is all too often ignored.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Skipped a meal to finish it!

    Wonderful insight into women of three generations. Difficult yet engaging people. Dark and scary like life Keeps you turning the pages. Can't wait for more from this author!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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