Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Two Great Novels

I finished two fabulous novels last month: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, and Good Neighbors by Joanne Serling

Egan was one of my professors in graduate school and the best writing teacher I've ever had. Great writers aren't always great people or great teachers but Egan was all three. Manhattan Beach is the story of a young woman, her father and the man who both saved and wrecked their lives. It's also a story of one of the first woman divers to work on warships in New York City during World War II.  The book traces how flawed family members can be each other's ruin and salvation. Portions of Manhattan Beach are reminiscent of Laura Hillenbrand's non-fiction epic Unbroken and Egan's earlier Pulitzer-prize winning novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad.  Manhattan Beach available here and here.

I couldn't put Good Neighbors down---I read it almost non-stop for two days in a row. Good Neighbors is the story of a group of suburban neighbors, who are trying hard to be good friends---and what happens when one of them adopts a young girl. The results are unexpected. Serling is the former editor of Millburn Short Hills magazine and a total mensch. She is coming to do a Q&A with my students in New York on Wednesday, April 25. If you are interested, please let me know and I will send you details. There is no cost for this event but I do ask that you read the book and come prepared with questions. Good Neighbors available here and here.

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