If Cassandra from Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle was a teenager in the 1970s working at a Leicestershire nursing home, she would be just like Lizzie Vogel, the narrator of Stibbe’s latest. Lizzie, a schoolgirl who just wants to make enough money to buy Linco Beer shampoo, takes a job as an auxiliary nurse at Paradise Lodge, an old folks’ home as close to death as some of its residents. Her grades suffer as she almost single-handedly runs the home while the supposed adults in charge take advantage of her earnestness. The matron expects her to miss class to fill in shifts, the owner abandons all thought of laundry, and the trained nurses leave her in charge of patients. Even though she’s only 15, Lizzie cares deeply about both the other staff and the residents, many of whom could have easily become caricatures but instead are as richly drawn as the dilapidated manor house in which they live. Stibbe (Man at the Helm) manages to make Lizzie sincere and naïve without being syrupy or precious, and creates a story that helps readers understand human nature a little better. (July)
"Stibbe's deadpan first-person delivery once again balances quirky charm with beady insight...Another deft helping of absurd social comedy and unconventional wisdom from a writer of singular, decidedly English gifts."
"Lizzie Vogel is back. Now 15, she's picked up a job at Paradise Lodge, a Leicester home for the aging that has fallen on hard times...The home provides English writer Stibbe's novel with an incredible patchwork of characters and their eccentricities, and Lizzie's observations of her family, coworkers, geriatric charges, and sundry enemies are wise, hilarious, and of an emotional frankness that's all her own...soaked through with charm."
"A comic romp about aging and belonging."
Anderson Tepper, Vanity Fair
"Sweetness and wit from Nina Stibbe. You won't find a funnier, more original confidante than Lizzie Vogel, a teen who's taken a job in a nursing home, at first just hoping to pay for some nice shampoo but eventually sucked into a full-on farce. Truancy, elder abuse, the death of Elvis Presleythere seems to be nothing the author of Love, Nina can't play for good-natured laughs and a sneaky touch of wisdom."
Kim Hubbard, People
"The priceless, pragmatic English youngsters who put their mother on the marriage market in last year's delightful Man at the Helm, are back and practicing their skills on a spate of new victims. In Stibbe's newest novel, Lizzie Vogel is now a teenager and hard at work in her first job at a chaotic old-age home. There, she helps a nurse find a husband (who will also operate as a 'retirement plan'). Lizzie, who finds herself feeling more at home than she's ever felt in her life, helps a cast of eccentrics save the home from a rival."
Billy Heller, The New York Post's Required Reading
"Stibbe has a gift for summoning the high-octane low-attention-span pimplefest that is adolescence."
Molly Young, New York Times Book Review
PRAISE FOR LOVE, NINA:
"I adored this book, and I could quote from it forever. It's real, odd, life-affirming, sharp, loving...and I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud so frequently while reading."Nick Hornby, The Believer
"Breezy, sophisticated, hilarious, rude, and aching with sweetness: Love, Nina might be the most charming book I've ever read."Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette
"These letters are winning from the start...we simply like being in Ms. Stibbe's company."Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"You'll find yourself laughing out loud but also touched by the book's depiction of family as it should be: people bound not just by blood but by shared affinities, humor and unfailing interest in hearing the answer to the question, 'How was your day?'"Kim Hubbard, People
"I must MOST EARNESTLY recommend Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe. It's the most piss-funny thing I've read all year. I can't remember a book since Adrian Mole that so brilliantly, drily nailed day-to-day life in BRILLIANT, faux-naive prose."Caitlin Moran, author of How to Build a Girl
"I have never laughed so hard reading a book. Nina Stibbe's recollections of life as a London nanny are both hilarious and heartwarming."J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine and The Engagements
"Love, Nina is enchanting. It's one of the funniestand oddestbooks I've read in a long time.... [Stibbe's letters] are perceptive and droll, and provide a glimpse into the domestic life of a fascinating literary family."Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal
PRAISE FOR MAN AT THE HELM:
"Man at the Helm is a winner- a brilliant find....It is full, free, outlandish. And I can't remember a book that made me laugh more. [Stibbe] doesn't take anything seriously. Or rather, she does, and yet her eye and ear for the absurd never desert her- they are part of who she is."The Guardian
"Some of the most perceptive writing I've read about relationships in a while....this book is very, very funny. Stibbe has a fine eye for absurdity, and her writing has an unforced charm."The Independent
"[A] joyous read, full of wit and charm . . . I am already longing for Nina Stibbe's next book."The Observer
Stibbe's Man at the Helm is straight-up hilarious, a brilliant collage of a family in glorious ruin.
Stibbe's wry, sly wit propels the novel forward at breakneck speed, but don't be fooled: underneath all the exuberance beats a surprisingly melancholy heart."Lauren Fox, Author of Still Life with Husband and Friends Like Us
"Stibbe's astute, deadpan charm is impossible to resist."
Kim Hubbard, People
"This densely populated coming-of-age story (for both mother and children) has retained and even expanded on Stibbe's signature antic charm...It's not too much of a stretch to conclude that Man at the Helm, with its jauntily matter-of-fact social satire, wouldn't be out of place on the same shelf as Cold Comfort Farm and I Capture the Castle.
Alida Becker, The New York Times Book Review
"Lizzie's scheme to find a suitable match for her [mother] sparkles with humor as British as mincemeat pie."
"Ms. Stibbe's writerly charms and her sneakily deep observations about romantic connection are on display throughout...'Man at the Helm' is densely peppered with funny lines, but even more striking is the sustained energy of the writing. In almost all the space between jokes, there remains a witty atmosphere, a playful effect sentence by sentence."John Williams, The New York Times
"Funny and engaging...I simply hugged myself with joy reading this book, for the tale it tells, which is funny, painful, and ultimately happy, and above all for the voice, which is perfection."
Katherine A. Powers, The Christian Science Monitor
An English teenager with a rackety home life finds part-time work in a local retirement home and encounters old people, eccentricity, gossip, and death.Lizzie Vogel was 10 when she narrated the first tragicomic installment of life with her family in Stibbe's fiction debut (Man at the Helm, 2015); now it's 1977, and she's 15 and no longer needs to search for a partner for her fragile mother or a substitute father for herself and her siblings. These days, home includes tolerant Mr. Holt and a new baby, and Lizzie can concentrate on other distractions: school, friends, better shampoo, and—after taking a job as "auxiliary nurse" at Paradise Lodge, a home for the elderly—bodily functions and mortality. On her very first day of work ("boring, slightly exciting and briefly horrible"), Lizzie glimpses a corpse in the morgue ("I'd seen a dead man's toe") and will later experience the demises of several more patients. (Elvis, Marc Bolan, and Maria Callas also meet their ends in this volume.) Meanwhile, her role at the Lodge includes assisting the elderly clients, helping them (frequently) to the bathroom, and weathering the peculiar comings and goings of patients and staff alike. Stibbe's deadpan first-person delivery once again balances quirky charm with beady insight while this new chapter in Lizzie's life introduces a larger community of characters. As in the earlier book, the plot is episodic, charting upsets in the lives of the kindly and the kooky, underpinned by Lizzie's search for some kind of momentum and meaning. Looser and less unified than the first book until near the end, the novel closes on a celebratory note, knitting multiple loose ends together and propelling frequent-truant Lizzie back to school to fulfill her potential as "an intellect-ual."Another deft helping of absurd social comedy and unconventional wisdom from a writer of singular, decidedly English gifts.