cover image Good Riddance

Good Riddance

Elinor Lipman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-544-80825-6

Lipman’s satisfying latest is a worthy addition to her long lineup of smart, witty novels. When Daphne Maritch throws away the marked-up yearbook her late mother (the advisor to whom it was dedicated) left her, she unleashes a series of events that will change her life forever. After leaving the yearbook in her New York City apartment building’s recycling bin, Daphne’s eccentric and annoying neighbor Geneva Wisenkorn, a self-proclaimed filmmaker, nabs it, weirdly intent on transforming it into a documentary. When the two attend the class of ’68’s reunion in her hometown of Pickering, N.H., Daphne learns a long-held family secret: one of her mother’s former students, Peter Armstrong, is her biological father. To complicate matters, Daphne’s father, Tom—a retired high school principal—has just moved to New York, begins working as a dog walker, and meets a charming Manhattanite who might just end up being Daphne’s stepmother. And he’s not giving his daughter up easily. In a lesser writer’s hands, the plot could have devolved into a soapy mess, but Lipman ably turns it into a charming romantic comedy. Lipman (On Turpentine Lane) complements Daphne, Tom, and Geneva with a stellar cast of supporting characters (especially Jeremy, the sexy actor across the hall) and intelligent and lyrical prose, making this novel a delightful treat readers will want to savor. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME Entertainment. (Feb.)