“All hail Jami Attenberg, the queen of dysfunctional families.” —Refinery29 “Big Little Lies meets Succession in the scorching heat of the Big Easy . . . Money, power and family are touched upon through Attenberg’s emotional, humorous and sharply written accounts.” —Parade“This is how you write a very good novel about a very bad man.” —New York TimesFrom critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Jami Attenberg comes a novel of family secrets: think the drama of Big Little Lies set in the heat of a New Orleans summer “If I know why they are the way they are, then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am,” says Alex Tuchman of her parents. Now that her father is on his deathbed, Alex—a strong-headed lawyer, devoted mother, and loving sister--feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who Victor is and what he did over the course of his life and career. (A power-hungry real estate developer, he is, by all accounts, a bad man.) She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tightlipped mother, Barbra. As Barbra fends off Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life with Victor. Meanwhile Gary, Alex’s brother, is incommunicado, trying to get his movie career off the ground in Los Angeles. And Gary’s wife, Twyla, is having a nervous breakdown, buying up all the lipstick in drug stores around New Orleans and bursting into crying fits. Dysfunction is at its peak. As each family member grapples with Victor’s history, they must figure out a way to move forward—with one another, for themselves, and for the sake of their children. ALL THIS COULD BE YOURS is a timely, piercing exploration of what it means to be caught in the web of a toxic man who abused his power; it shows how those webs can tangle a family for generations and what it takes to—maybe, hopefully—break free. With her signature “sparkling prose” (Marie Claire) and incisive wit, Jami Attenberg deftly explores one of the most important subjects of our age.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
JAMI ATTENBERG is the New York Times best-selling author of seven books of fiction, including The Middlesteins and All Grown Up. She has contributed essays to the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, and Longreads, among other publications. She lives in New Orleans.
Read an Excerpt
He was an angry man, and he was an ugly man, and he was tall, and he was pacing. Not much space for it in the new home, just a few rooms lined up in a row, underneath a series of slow-moving ceiling fans, an array of antique clocks ticking on one wall. He made it from one end of the apartment to the other in no time at all—his speed a failure as much as it was a success—then it was back to the beginning, flipping on his heel, grinding himself against the floor, the earth, this world. The pacing came after the cigar and the Scotch. Both had been unsatisfactory. The bottle of Scotch had been sitting too close to the window for months, and the afternoon sun had destroyed it, a fact he had only now just realized, the flavor of the Scotch so bitter he had to spit it out. And he had coughed his way through his cigar, the smoke tonight tickling his throat vindictively. All the things he loved to do, smoking, drinking, walking off his frustrations, those pleasures were gone. He’d been at the casino earlier, hanging with the young bucks. Trying to keep up with them. But even then, he’d blown through that pleasure fast. A thousand bucks gone, a visit to the bathroom stall. What was the point of it? He had so little left to give him joy, or the approximation of it. Release, that was always how he had thought of it. A release from the grip of life. His wife, Barbra, sat on the couch, her posture tepid, shoulders loose, head slouched, no acknowledgment of his existence. But she glanced at him now as he paused in front of her, and then she dropped her head back down again. Her hair dyed black, chin limping slightly into her neck, but still, at sixty-eight years old, as petite and wide-eyed as ever. Once she had been the grand prize. He had won her, he thought, like a stuffed animal at a sideshow alley. She flipped through an Architectural Digest. Those days are gone, sweetheart, he thought. Those objects are unavailable to you. Their lives had become a disgrace. Now would have been an excellent time to admit he had been wrong all those years, to confess his missteps in full, to apologize for his actions. To whom? To her. To his children. To the rest of them. This would have been the precise moment to acknowledge the crimes of his life that had put them in that exact location. His flaws hovered and rotated, kaleidoscope-like, in front of his gaze, multicolored, living, breathing shards of guilt in motion. If only he could put together the bits and pieces into a larger vision, to create an understanding of his choices, how he had landed on the wrong side, perhaps always had. And always would. Instead he was angry about the taste of a bottle of Scotch, and suggested to his wife that if she kept a better home, none of this would have happened, and also would she please stop fucking around with the thermostat and leave the temperature just as he liked. And she had flipped another page, bored with his Scotch, bored with his complaints. “The guy downstairs said something again,” she said. “About this.” She motioned to his legs. The pacing, they could hear it through the floor. “I can walk in my own home,” he said. “Sure,” she said. “Maybe don’t do it so late at night, though.” He marched into their bedroom, stomping loudly, and plummeted headfirst onto their bed. Nobody loves me, he thought. Not that I care. He had believed, briefly, he could find love again, even now, as an old man, but he had been wrong. Loveless, fine, he thought. He closed his eyes and allowed himself one last series of thoughts: a beach, sand bleached an impenetrable white, a motionless blue sky, the sound of birds nearby, a thigh, his finger running along it. No one’s thigh in particular. Just whatever was available from a pool of bodies in his memory. His imaginary hand squeezed the imaginary thigh. It was meant to cause pain. He waited for his moment of arousal, but instead he began to gasp for air. His heart seized. Release me, he thought. But he couldn’t move, face-down in the pillow, a muffled noise. A freshly laundered scent. A field of lavender, the liquid cool color of the flower, interrupted by bright spasms of green. Release me. Those days are over. Ninety minutes later an EMS worker named Corey responded to his last call of the day. The Garden District. A heart attack, seventy-three-year-old male.