Monday, July 28, 2008

Pg. 69: Ayelet Waldman's "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Ayelet Waldman's Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this moving, wry, and candid novel, widely acclaimed novelist Ayelet Waldman takes us through one woman’s passage through love, loss, and the strange absurdities of modern life.

Emilia Greenleaf believed that she had found her soulmate, the man she was meant to spend her life with. But life seems a lot less rosy when Emilia has to deal with the most neurotic and sheltered five-year-old in New York City: her new stepson William. Now Emilia finds herself trying to flag down taxis with a giant, industrial-strength car seat, looking for perfect, strawberry-flavored, lactose-free cupcakes, receiving corrections on her French pronunciation from her supercilious stepson – and attempting to find balance in a new family that’s both larger, and smaller, than she bargained for. In Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Ayelet Waldman has created a novel rich with humor and truth, perfectly characterizing one woman’s search for answers in a crazily uncertain world.
Among the praise for the novel:
"How a five-year-old manages to make the adults in his life hew to the love he holds for them is the sweet treat in this honest, brutal, bitterly funny slice of life. When Emelia's day-old daughter, Isabel, succumbs to SIDS, her own life stalls. She can't work; she can't sleep; Central Park, once her personal secret garden, now is a minefield of happy mother-child dyads. Since Isabel's death, husband Jack's only solace for the guilt of breaking up his sexless marriage with Carolyn for Emelia's (now-absent) passion and love is joint custody of William, now five. What Emelia cannot bear most are Wednesdays, when she must cross the park to collect William at the 92nd Street Y preschool and take another shot at stepmotherhood. Carolyn, William's furious mother and a renowned Upper East Side OB/GYN, lives to nab Emelia for mistakes in handling him. Carolyn's indicting phone calls raise the already sky-high tension in Jack and Emelia's home, but they don't compare with Carolyn's announcement that, at age 42, she is pregnant. The news pushes Emelia to confess to Jack two things she shouldn't. William is charmingly realized, and Waldman (Daughter's Keeper) has upper bourgeois New York down cold. The result is a terrific adult story."
--Publishers Weekly

"Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is a beautiful novel...If you are not moved to tears, then your heart is carved from wood."
--Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli

"I had a great time reading Love and Other Impossible Pursuits ...The heroine was a great accomplishment...and William (her stepson) is a triumph."
--Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce

"I read this book in one sitting...Ayelet Waldman is that good."
--Sherman Alexie, author of Ten Little Indians

"One of the sweetest and smartest and most poignant novels I've read in a long time. It's also very funny."
--Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives and Before You Know Kindness
Read an excerpt from Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, and learn more about the author and her work at Ayelet Waldman's website.

Ayelet Waldman is the author of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Daughter's Keeper, and the Mommy-Track Mysteries. Her personal essays have been published in a wide variety of periodicals, including the New York Times, Elle Magazine, and the Guardian.

The Page 69 Test: Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.

--Marshal Zeringue