Woman No. 17

Edan Lepucki. Random/Hogarth, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-101-90425-1
A newly-separated writer hires a mysterious young artist as a live-in nanny in this engaging examination of modern art and family dynamics. After unexpectedly asking her husband Karl to move out, Lady enlists the enchanting S to help care for her toddler, Devin, as well as keep an eye on Seth, her mute teenage son from an earlier marriage. As alternating narration quickly reveals, S is a fake name, a front for her real reason for applying for the job. Most of the novel concerns the complicated family situations of Lady and S, primarily Lady’s fraught relationship with Kit, her famous photographer sister-in-law. The book takes its title from a suggestive photo that Kit once took of Lady, a piece of art whose significance informs everything from S’s mother’s alcoholism to Lady’s estrangement from Seth’s biological father. The disclosure of an affair forces each character to reckon with how they’ve deceived both themselves and one another. Lepucki’s (California) brisk style and arresting characterizations make for a compelling portrait of womanhood in the present moment, right down to its intriguing integration of social media. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017
Release date: 05/09/2017
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-2339-2
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-5247-5563-8
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-101-90427-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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