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Her book arrives at a time when America’s Confederate past is disturbingly near, something she’d have us all remember, even if it hurts.
—Bridget Read, are wandering their way through adulthood.
Brodesser-Akner is a master of zeitgeisty pith, and Toby, while occasionally too saintly for realism’s sake, is a delightful mensch.
But the real standout is Brodesser-Akner’s often hilarious grasp on what makes a certain kind of Manhattanite tick.
starts with an incredible, uncomfortable act: a woman leaving her child.
From there, in 1998, the novel hurtles forward, set in Jamaica and New York, as mother and daughter, Patsy and Tru, live out separate fates that are connected by blood, but also by huge, unseen forces of politics, class, and race.
Patsy discovers that life as an undocumented worker in a city that is only becoming more stratified by wealth may not have been worth the price.
Dennis-Benn is a prodigious world-straddler, and not just geographically; her characters are memorable and fully drawn, and the devastating meta-legacies they conjure are all too real.
The 19-year-old lands at her estranged Aunt Peg’s failing theater, a dizzying funhouse lacking rules and structure, where she finds her place making costumes for low-budget productions.“You have to because I don’t have the English to help you.” The loosely constructed novel is the unfolding of this path—in its simplest outline, it’s the story of a mother and son who are struggling to find their way in an unfamiliar culture.But it is also a bildungsroman that vacillates between moments of piercing tenderness and savage brutality, set against quixotic hopes of the American dream and the devastation of the opioid crisis.Along with the legends of Truman Capote and Eloise, Satow’s book tells of Betty Friedan’s all-female lunch in 1969 (an event that caused the flustered maître d’ to order the table removed from the premises), and time-travels from the original Plaza to the opening of the existing version, in 1907, up to the present, showing it’s always been an establishment in flux.What began as a restaurant underneath the lobby was soon intentionally flooded and turned into a frozen ice-skating rink in the summer months; a few years after that, it became a racetrack for the owner’s nephew to race his miniature electric car.
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While the novel’s crime plotting is not as exciting as it would be on prestige TV (and thank god for that), the voices of this small-town world are fascinating in Benz’s hands.