Sushi for Beginners

Sushi for Beginners

3.9 63
by Marian Keyes
     
 

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Lisa Edwards

This Prada-wearing magazine editor thinks her life is over when her "fabulous" new job turns out to be a deportation to Dublin to launch Colleen magazine. The only saving grace is that her friends aren't there to witness her downward spiral. Might her new boss, the disheveled and moody Jack Devine, save her from a fate worse than hell?

Ashling

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Overview

Lisa Edwards

This Prada-wearing magazine editor thinks her life is over when her "fabulous" new job turns out to be a deportation to Dublin to launch Colleen magazine. The only saving grace is that her friends aren't there to witness her downward spiral. Might her new boss, the disheveled and moody Jack Devine, save her from a fate worse than hell?

Ashling Kennedy

Ashling, Colleen's assistant editor, is an award-winning worrier, increasinglyaware that something fundamental is missing from her life -- apart from a boyfriendand a waistline.

Clodagh "Princess" Kelly

Ashling's best friend, Clodagh, lives the domestic dream in a suburban castle.So why, lately, has she had the recurring urge to kiss a frog -- or sleep with afrog, if truth be told?As these three women search for love, success, and happiness, they willdiscover that if you let things simmer under the surface for too long, sooneror later they'll boil over.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For Ashling Kennedy, the new job she lands at start-up Irish fashion magazine Colleen is a dream come true. For Lisa Edwards, a high-maintenance London editor expecting a promotion to New York, her appointment as editor-in-chief of Colleen is a slap in the face, the only consolation being her rumpled-but-handsome new boss, Jack Devine. Furious at being passed up for a job at Manhattan magazine, Lisa vows to make Colleen the envy of the fashion industry, even if it kills her. She drives her Dublin staff to exhaustion, and Colleen becomes a smashing success. But after a particularly lusty meeting with her much-maligned long-distance London boyfriend, she wonders if the move and the single-minded career obsession have been worth it. Meanwhile, Ashling is betrayed by her boyfriend and her best friend Clodagh, whose bourgeois domesticity she's long envied. Ashling realizes that she has to let go of her cheerful "Miss Fix-It" demeanor and go after what she wants. Lisa is chagrined and Ashling is shocked to learn that Jack may actually fancy Ashling, but one "sushi for beginners" dinner has her convinced. British bestseller Keyes's latest confection (after Watermelon) makes such a painfully brittle start the reader nearly despairs of the cardboard cutout characters, but slowly they begin to breathe and morph into charmers. Keyes's considerable following on these shores will declare this a delight. National advertising; online promotion. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Classic Keyes: three women chase happiness as staffers on a fashion magazine. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Keyes, with a number of wry, funny novels about wry, funny women under her designer belt (Angels, 2002, etc.), falters in her sixth: a concoction with the usual ingredients but without the usual magic. Having reached the top as editor of London's glossiest fashion mag (not without the requisite bitchiness and backstabbing), Lisa Edwards is betting that the boys upstairs have summoned her to offer an even better position with their New York magazine. Instead, Lisa's being shipped off to Dublin (for fashion it might as well be Dubai) to start up the new magazine Colleen. Sharing office space with Gaelic Knitting and Hibernian Bride, Lisa also finds a small and unfashionable staff. Ashling Kennedy is her editorial assistant and the perennial good girl. Dubbed "Miss Fix-it" by yummy corporate head Jack Devine, Ashling is superstitious, mildly neurotic, and a bit ordinary, but in the most likable way. Then there's Ashling's best friend, the beautiful Clodagh, who, with kind husband Dylan, two gorgeous little ones, a grand house in the city should be happy-but (naturally) she's not, and longs for a moment of peace and quiet. Or a night out on the town. Or something that doesn't involve the husband or kids. The three women forge ahead at various speeds: determined Lisa, stick-thin and already wearing next year's fashion, has set her teeth on Jack Devine. Ashling, despite her insecurities, has come up with great ideas for the magazine and is dating a rising comedian, and Clodagh decides she wants to try for a job. But things for all three begin to fall apart, and each contemplates a nervous breakdown. It's only Ashling, though, who'll fail to rally at her bad news. This Irish author's standardmix of armchair psychology and hip female fun is a bit forced here, and the three-way split for the narrative works less well than investing in only one gal might have. Still, Keyes's chic-lit (even this) is miles above the norm.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060555955
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/14/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
547,078
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Sushi for Beginners

Chapter One

At Femme magazine, something had been in the air for weeks, a feeling that they were living on a fault line. Speculation finally burst into flames when it was confirmed that Calvin Carter, the U.S. managing director, had been sighted roaming around the top floor, looking for the gents'. Apparently he'd just arrived in London from the head office in New York.

It's happening. Lisa clenched her fists in excitement. It's actually finally, bloody happening.

Later that day the phone call came. Would Lisa pop upstairs to see Calvin Carter and British managing director Barry Hollingsworth?

Lisa slammed down the phone. "Too right I would," she shouted at it.

Her colleagues barely looked up. People slamming phones down then shouting were ten a penny in the magazine game. Besides, they were trapped in Deadline Hell -- if they didn't get this month's issue put to bed by nightfall, they'd miss their slot with the printers and would be scooped once again by archrivals Marie Claire. But what did she care, Lisa thought, hobbling to the lift, she wouldn't have a job here after today. She'd have a much better one somewhere else.

Lisa was kept waiting outside the boardroom for twenty-five minutes. After all, Barry and Calvin were very important men.

"Should we let her in yet?" Barry asked Calvin, when he felt they'd killed enough time.

"It's only twenty minutes since we called her," Calvin pointed out, huffily. Obviously Barry Hollingsworth didn't realize just how important he, Calvin Carter, was.

"Sorry, I thought it was later. Perhaps you'd show me again how to improve my swing."

"Sure. Now, head down and hold still. Hold still! Feet steady, left arm straight, and swing!"

When Lisa was finally granted admission, Barry and Calvin were seated behind a walnut table approximately a kilometer long. They looked frowningly powerful.

"Sit down, Lisa." Calvin Carter inclined his silver bullet head graciously.

Lisa sat. She smoothed back her caramel-colored hair, showing her free honey-colored highlights to their best advantage. Free because she kept plugging the salon in the "Ones to Watch" section of the magazine.

Settling herself in the chair, she tucked her Patrick Cox-shod feet neatly around each other.

The shoes were a size too small -- no matter how many times she asked the Patrick Cox press office to send a size six, they always sent a five. But free Patrick Cox shoes were free Patrick Cox shoes. What did an unimportant detail like excruciating agony matter?

"Thank you for coming up.' Calvin smiled. Lisa decided she'd better smile back. Smiles were a commodity like everything else, only given in exchange for something useful, but she reckoned in this case it was worth her while. After all, it wasn't every day that a girl was seconded to New York and made deputy editor of Manhattan magazine. So she curled her mouth and bared her pearly-white teeth. (Kept that way from the year's supply of Rembrandt toothpaste that had been donated for a reader competition, but which Lisa had thought would be more appreciated in her own bathroom.)

"You've been at Femme for" -- Calvin looked at the stapled pages in front of him -- "four years?"

"Four years next month," Lisa murmured, with an expertly judged mix of deference and confidence.

"And you've been editor for nearly two years?"

"Two wonderful years," Lisa confirmed, fighting back the urge to stick her fingers down her throat and gag.

"And youre only twenty-nine," Calvin marveled. "Well, as you know, here at Randolph Media we reward hard work.'

Lisa twinkled prettily at this patent lie. Like many companies in the Western world, Randolph Media rewarded hard work with poor pay, increasing workloads, demotions, and on-a-second's-notice redundancies.

But Lisa was different. She'd paid her dues at Femme, and made sacrifices that even she'd never intended to make: starting at seven-thirty most mornings, doing twelve-, thirteen-, fourteen-hour days, then going to evening press do's when she finally switched off her computer. Often she came to work on Saturdays, Sundays, even bank-holiday Mondays. The porters loathed her because it meant that whenever she wanted to come to the office one of them had to come in and open up and thereby forgo their Saturday football or their bank-holiday family outing to Brent Cross.

"We have a vacancy at Randolph Media, " Calvin said importantly. "it would be a wonderful challenge, Lisa."

I know, she thought irritably. Just cut to the chase.

"It will involve moving overseas, which can sometimes be a problem for one's partner."

"I'm single." Lisa was brusque.

Barry wrinkled his forehead in surprise and thought of the termer he'd had to hand over for someone's wedding present a few years before. He could have sworn it was for Lisa here, but maybe not, perhaps he wasn't as on the ball as he once used to be ...

"We're looking for an editor for a new magazine," Calvin went on.

A new magazine? Lisa was jotted off course. But Manhattan has been published for seventy years.

While she was still grappling with the implications of that, Calvin delivered the whammy. "It would involve your relocating to Dublin."

The shock set up a smothered buzzing in her head, as if her ears needed to pop. A numb, fuzzy sensation of alienation. The only reality was the sudden agony of her crumpled toes.

"Dublin?" She heard her muffled voice ask. Perhaps ... perhaps ... perhaps they meant Dublin, New York.

"Dublin, Ireland," Calvin Carter said, down a long, echoey tunnel, destroying the last of her hope.

I can't believe this is happening to me.

"Ireland?"

"Small wet place across the Irish Sea," Barry offered kindly.

"Where they drink a lot?" Lisa said faintly.

"And they never stop talking. That's the place. Booming economy, huge population of young folk. Market research indicates the place is ripe for a new feisty women's magazine. And we want you to set it up for us, Lisa."

Sushi for Beginners. Copyright © by Marian Keyes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Marian Keyes is the author of ten bestselling novels and two essay collections. She lives in Ireland with her husband and their two imaginary dogs.

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