The Middlesteins

Jami Attenberg. Grand Central, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4555-0721-4
A panoply of neurotic characters fills Attenberg’s multigenerational novel about a Midwestern Jewish family. Shifting points of view tell the story of the breakup and aftermath of Edie and Richard Middlestein’s nearly 40-year marriage as Edie slowly eats herself to death. Richard and his brilliant but demanding and ever larger wife raised two children. Robin is intense and hostile; Benny lives an idyll with his wife, Rachelle, in the Chicago suburbs, sharing a joint after putting their twins to bed at night. Much of Rachelle’s time is spent assuring that the twins’ b’nai mitzvah extravaganza goes off without a hitch. When complications surrounding Edie’s diabetes precipitate Richard’s filing for divorce, the already tightly wound Rachelle becomes obsessed with the family’s physical and moral health. Soon the affable Benny’s hair is falling out in clumps. Attenberg (Instant Love) makes her characters’ thoughts—Richard and Benny in particular—seem utterly real, and her wry, observational humor often hits sideways rather than head-on. Edie’s overeating, described with great sensuality, will resonate, with only the obstreperousness of all three generations of Middlestein women (granddaughter Emily included) marring this wonderfully messy and layered family portrait. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Oct. 23)
Reviewed on: 07/02/2012
Release date: 10/23/2012
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FORMATS
Open Ebook - 978-1-4555-0719-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-61113-621-0
Library Binding - 303 pages - 978-1-61173-624-3
Book - 978-1-61969-540-5
Ebook - 262 pages - 978-1-84765-943-9
Hardcover - 133 pages - 978-1-4555-0996-6
Paperback - 287 pages - 978-1-4555-0720-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-1-4555-4777-7
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-61969-539-9
Hardcover - 273 pages - 978-1-84668-935-2
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