I'm most excited about this fall is titled The Middlesteins, by Jami Attenberg. The story is about a nearly-40-year marriage that's about to come to an end — and the couple's two children are doing their all to keep them together. The twist on this one is that wife Edie’s food addiction has caused her to become so obese, her husband Richard decides to leave her.
I mean, who doesn't like a good failing marriage / dysfunctional family story? And, as if to endow this story with extra "dysfunctional family cred," The Franzen even contributed a blurb: “The Middlesteins had me from its very first pages, but it
wasn’t until its final pages that I fully appreciated the range of
Attenberg’s sympathy and the artistry of her storytelling."
Ms. Attenberg grew up in Buffalo Grove, Illinois (a Chicago suburb) and has set her story in and near Chicago. There's always an added pull to fiction set where you live, isn't there? But besides that, I'm really drawn to realist literary fiction like this, so I'm super excited. I've read the first 10 pages, and Franzen is right — it grabs you right away. If the rest is this good, we're all in for a real literary treat!
Now, for the good news: The publisher, Grand Central Publishing, has generously offered to allow me to do a giveaway of three copies of the novel — which is officially out Oct. 23.
To enter, please comment below with your name and email address. Alternatively, you can leave your name and email on the post at The New Dork Review of Books Facebook page.
You have until midnight EDT next Thursday (10/11) to enter. I'll announce the winners Friday, 10/12.
Giveaway is open to U.S. residents.
Also of note: Ms. Attenberg will be on tour this fall to support her novel. Here's a list of events. If you're in or near Chicago, she'll be at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square Nov. 8 at 7 pm (see you there!) and the Barnes and Noble in Skokie Nov. 11 at 2 pm.