Dream House

Valerie Laken, Author . Harper $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-084092-1

A classic money pit scenario offers insights into the fragility of home, family and neighborhood in Pushcart Prize–winner Laken’s thoughtful debut. Kate and her husband, Stuart, have been living a student lifestyle—complete with all-night parties and a rundown apartment—since leaving college seven years before. When Kate’s parents help them buy their own home, they don’t know that the handyman special was the site of a murder nearly 20 years earlier. Nor do they expect that the fixer-upper will be the wedge that drives them further apart. When Stuart walks away from their gutted home in the middle of Kate’s ambitious remodeling, Kate forms new relationships with two men who have ties to the murder and the house. At times, the metaphoric potential in Kate and Stuart’s cursed home overshadows the storytelling. For the most part, however, Laken avoids foundering in obvious symbolism, instead offering compelling reflections on broad issues such as neighborhood gentrification and the American dream as well as the personal struggles involved with marriage, family and the creation of a home. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-176852-1
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-176848-4
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-06-084093-8
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-176846-0
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-185367-8
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 352 pages - 978-0-06-176850-7
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