Endearing, self-absorbed, seventeen-year-old Cecile is the very essence of untroubled amorality. Freed from the stifling constraints of boarding school, she joins her father & a handsome, still-young widower with a wandering eye-for a carefree, two-month summer vacation in a beautiful villa outside of Paris with his latest mistress, Elsa. Cecile cherishes the free-spirited moments she and her father share, while plotting her own sexual adventures with a “tall and almost beautiful” law student. But the arrival of her late mother’s best friend, Anne, intrudes upon a young girl’s pleasures. And when a relationship begins to develop between the adults, Cecile and her lover set in motion a plan to keep them apart. . . with tragic, unexpected consequences.
The internationally beloved story of a precocious teenager’s attempts to understand and control the world around her, Francoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse is a beautifully composed, wonderfully ambiguous celebration of sexual liberation, at once sympathetic and powerfully unsparing.
A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians.
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. Hes popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Mariannes house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagersone they are determined to conceal.
Jennifer Egan’s spellbinding interlocking narratives circle the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other’s pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa.
Is it possible to write a sidesplitting novel about the breakup of the perfect marriage? If the writer is Nora Ephron, the answer is a resounding yes. For in this inspired confection of adultery, revenge, group therapy, and pot roast, the creator of Sleepless in Seattle reminds us that comedy depends on anguish as surely as a proper gravy depends on flour and butter.