Emma's Table

Philip Galanes, Author
Philip Galanes, Author . Harper $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-155383-7
Reviewed on: 05/12/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008

In this solid ripped-from-the-headlines effort from Galanes (Father's Day ), Emma Sutton—once an Oprah-featured interior design queen, now a newly released convicted tax felon—is determined to regain her balance, personally and professionally. Yet she soon resorts to mild fraud at an auction, proving old habits die hard. Confrontations with her ex-husband (who wants to try again) and her adult daughter (a mass of insecurities and vices) lead to guilt and shame. Meanwhile, Emma's weekend assistant, Benjamin Blackman, is not coping very well with his girlfriend or with his day job as an elementary school social worker. There a troubled, overweight third grader, Gracie Santiago, is losing ground fast, despite her mother's efforts. When Emma decides that she has brought her woes upon herself and can get rid of them the same way, the story lines collide neatly. Galanes's thoughtful, placid novel is overpopulated given the scarcity of plot, but the mother-daughter relationships hold it together. (Aug.)

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