Marian Thurm The Good Life

ISBN 13: 9781579624286

The Good Life

3.37 avg rating
( 197 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781579624286: The Good Life
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In this powerful new book from an esteemed novelist and acclaimed short story writer, Marian Thurm expertly draws a chilling portrait of a marriage and the downward spiral of a loving husband and father who has bought a handgun as the novel opens.

Stacy and Roger seem to have it all: a wonderful marriage, a luxury Upper East Side apartment with all the accoutrements of the wealthy, and two endearing young children enrolled in private schools. But what appears to be "the good life" to their family and friends is not what it seems in this fast-paced, suspenseful novel that shows the sinister effects of a destructive marriage and the pursuit of the privileged life.

Thurm, who according to the New York Times Book Review, "writes brilliantly of the battle of the sexes," has done so again in The Good Life.

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About the Author:

MARIAN THURM is the author of seven novels and four short story collections, including the most recent, Today Is Not Your Day, a New York Times Editors Choice. Her novel The Clairvoyant was a New York Times Notable Book. Her short stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Michigan Quarterly, the Southampton Review, and many other magazines, and have been included in The Best American Short Stories, and numerous other anthologies. Her books have been translated into Japanese, Swedish, Dutch, and German. She has taught creative writing at Yale, Barnard College, the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and in the MFA programs at Columbia University and Brooklyn College.

Review:

"On the very first page, Thurm ignites the engine of her plot when Roger Goldenhar, a commercial real estate developer on a family vacation in Florida, secretly buys a semiautomatic pistol. The Good Life could almost be an illustration of the Chekhovian dictum that a gun introduced in the first act must be fired before the curtain falls, as the reader avidly turns the pages, eager to discover which violent solution Roger will choose as a means of escaping his financial and personal distress...He believes the pistol points toward the only way out, though Thurm's ending nonetheless provides a stark and chilling surprise."The New York Times

"Marian Thurm's The Good Life crafts a suspenseful story of how the lives of a wealthy couple from the Upper East Side of Manhattan descend into chaos...It is one of those novels that mimic everyday existence so closely...It's uncanny, and particularly so here because of the way the author slowly but compellingly develops a horrific tragedy that evolves out of ordinary circumstances...As the narrative goes back and forth between past and present, the time frame between them narrows, as the author skillfully drives the plot to its...shocking conclusion...The Good Life will likely linger in memory for quite some time."--NPR

"When a man buys a gun on the first page of a book, trouble is in store. While the narrative of the Stacy and Roger Goldenhar's trip to Florida proceeds on its relentless path, their back story is revealed in a parallel narrative...Thurm has created an extremely lovable character in Stacy, and the reader's anxiety about her situation mounts as we see everything about her husband that she does not...All the minor characters in the novel are spot-on down to the slogans on their T-shirts...Thurm simultaneously creates and destroys a brightly detailed domestic world in this relentlessly paced, ultimately pitch-dark emotional thriller."--Kirkus Reviews

"The narrative toggles effortlessly between present and past, detailing the Goldenhar marriage of almost nine years, with the mood darkening appreciably as drafts of Roger's suicide note appear; only stroking the Glock he keeps in his glove compartment seems to soothe him. Thurm, a master of the short story, can delineate characters decisively in a few strokes, and she establishes Stacy, who works for paltry wages at a nonprofit, as a foil for Roger's material standards. But the real coup here is making domestic fiction into breathtaking suspense. It's hard to put this one down." --Booklist

"In this arresting psychological portrait of an obsessive husband and an ineffectual wife, Thurm dissects the lives of Roger and Stacy Goldenhar, a couple who make their home in Manhattan, where they were born in the same hospital on the same day 10 years apart. In flashbacks, Stacy works with the homeless at a nonprofit, while Roger enjoys success as a commercial real estate developer. An accidental meeting leads to romance, marriage, and two children, Olivia and Will. In the present, Stacy has no idea that Roger, who struggles to keep up appearances, is falling apart emotionally, because the two rarely communicate...Despite Stacy's staunch support, the self-absorbed Roger pursues a solution that involves buying a gun and crafting a letter to explain the desperate act he's about to take. The outcome will catch most readers by surprise."--Publishers Weekly

"Thurm creates memorable and vividly realistic scenes...A well-written, tense story about a privileged family on the brink of disaster. Recommended for fans of authors such as Laura Lippman and Megan Abbott." --Library Journal

"With The Good Life, Marian Thurm has created a powder keg hybrid of domestic drama and page-turning thriller. As I grew to know and truly care about the minutiae of the Goldenhar family, I was also in a state of true suspense. I defy readers to put this book down!" --Joanna Hershon, author of A Dual Inheritance

"Marian Thurm's new novel grabbed me from page one and didn't let go. As she ricochets back and forth between a couple's first flush of romance and their troubled marriage nine years later, she manages to combine a comedy of manners with elements of a thriller, imbuing her sharp-eyed observations of the foibles and follies of her smart-but-unwise upper-middle-class New Yorkers with a healthy dose of noir-ish dread. Readers who like Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott will find themselves equally drawn to this bracing, tense and richly characterized novel."Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply

"The Good Life is absolutely unputdownable."--Stacy Schiff, New York Times bestselling author of Cleopatra and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Vera

"The Good Life moves us stealthily, winningly, alarmingly, through the life of a lucky, wealthy young family and the terrifying and painful things that happen to them. This is a page-turner of a special type: gimlet-eyed, compassionate, wittily observant and unflinching. Marian Thurm knows people, knows New York and knows noir."--Amy Bloom, New York Times bestselling author of Lucky Us

"Part domestic drama, part thriller, Marian Thurm's new novel is a taut vivisection of a marriage, and of a culture of wealth along with it. With wit and heart and brio, Thurm follows Stacy and Roger from when they first meet until their relationship reaches an implosion. The Good Life is contemporary in the best sense: vivid, timely, terrifying."--Joshua Henkin, author of The World Without You

"Marian Thurm writes with great wisdom--and wit--in her subversive novel that at first seems to be a bouncy comedy but turns into something much darker, carried along by the current of its riveting plot and complexly rendered characters. The Good Life is as unsettling as it is gripping." --Teddy Wayne, author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine and Kapitoil

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