Joy for Beginners

Erica Bauermeister, Author
Erica Bauermeister. Putnam, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-15712-7
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-51604-1
Paperback - 171 pages - 978-0-425-24742-6
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-50664-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-93309-6
Hardcover - 343 pages - 978-1-4104-4074-7
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In Bauermeister's sensual second novel, a party for a woman who has beaten breast cancer results in six friends reconnecting, not just to each other but also to parts of themselves they had long neglected. Admittedly an "incongruous group," with each woman at a different point in her life, Kate's friends agree that each "will do one thing in the next year that is scary or difficult." Kate selects tasks for each of her friends; undertaking the tasks will bring heartbreak, joy, and adventure to everyone. Bauermeister's (The School of Essential Ingredients) evocative prose creates a magical world where gray goo becomes "forgiving dough" in an oven and a woman protects herself from loneliness by hiding in an unruly garden. Kate's well-meaning tasks, be they as grand as a trip to Venice or as banal as baking bread, push the friends toward much-needed awakenings. A book designed to both fill you up and make you hungry for life. (June)
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