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No Ordinary Matter

by

No Ordinary Matter Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"For McPhee, it would seem, the world is a fascinating machine with intricate parts that somehow fit together: Broadway, television, brain chemistry, academia, motherhood, family, feminism, beauty, jealousy, love, sex and work — and that's what she models her novel on. It's a heady mix, and an ambitious undertaking. She has wit and patience with her sometimes exasperating characters, and a demonstrated skill as ringmaster to her intricate plot circles and the ideas that make them swirl." Barbara O'Dair, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jenny McPhee's critically acclaimed debut, The Center of Things, was hailed by O, The Oprah Magazine as "a smart novel of love, lust, and life's miraculous randomness." The New York Times Book Review called it "an engaging novel about big ideas." In her delightful new novel, No Ordinary Matter, McPhee turns her razor-sharp pen on the offbeat worlds of soap operas, mistaken identities, private detectives, and sibling rivalries as she deftly navigates the territory between coincidence and fate.

Veronica Moore writes for a daytime drama while secretly composing a musical and has fallen in love with Alex Drake, who plays a neurologist on her show. Lillian Moore is a neurologist who is pregnant from a one-night stand. Veronica and Lillian have hired Brian Byrd, P. I., to uncover the mystery surrounding their father's death. Before they know it, unexpected answers come crawling out of the woodwork. The sisters meet monthly at the Hungarian Pastry Shop, where they entangle their futures and unravel their pasts, setting the stage for a series of revelations that will change the course of everyone's lives. This fast-paced narrative is full of situations worthy of the steamiest of soaps, and yet McPhee renders this fantastical world delightfully ordinary.

No Ordinary Matter is as addictive as a soap opera, as high-kicking as a Broadway show, as insightful as an MRI, and as satisfying as a buttery croissant. With its sly charm and witty sophistication, McPhee's new novel is another sparkling gem from a rising literary star.

Review:

"McPhee (The Center of Things) throws more curveballs than a big league pitcher in this frenetic New York romantic comedy. As the novel begins, Veronica Moore, an up-and-coming soap opera and musical writer, is grappling with the news that her sister, Lillian, a tall, stunning blond neurologist, has engineered her own pregnancy. Alex Drake, the out-of-work actor Lillian seduced, has no idea that he's about to become a father. At the same time, Lillian and Veronica hire Bryan Byrd, a private investigator and jazz musician, in an attempt to uncover secrets that their own father may have been keeping before he died 25 years earlier. When Veronica discovers that the newest actor to grace the set of the show she writes for, Ordinary Matters, is none other than Alex Drake, she is determined to find out if he is the same man who unsuspectingly impregnated her sister. An ill-advised horse-drawn carriage ride turns into a full-blown romance — and Veronica can't find the courage to tell Lillian. Meanwhile, the sisters are being tailed by two detectives, who indirectly uncover secrets in the Moore gene pool that make Ordinary Matters look like classic drama. 'Soap operas,' Veronica decides, are 'even more implausible than musicals,' though apparently everyday life can be the most preposterous of all. McPhee's latest is sure to serve as a guilty pleasure for many this summer. 5-city author tour. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. (June )" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Is this some sort of postmodern whodunit? Not exactly — more like an old-fashioned farce. So absurdly improbable that it can be swallowed whole: a witty spoof, nicely put together and hard to put down." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Second novelist McPhee successfully pulls off this souped-up, big-hearted soap. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Jenny McPhee is a lot of fun and is brimming with talent. In her new novel No Ordinary Matter, her dialogue and narrative style are charged with volcanic radiation and she knows how to carry a story along through the intrigues and wonderful mysteries of the lives of two professional women. A daring and charming book." Muriel Spark, author of Aiding and Abetting

Review:

"Even though Lillian, the neurologist in Jenny McPhee's new novel, would say I don't really know why I laughed so much when I read it, I still think it's because No Ordinary Matter is very funny. It's also a profound description of how we're all made crazy and sad and occasionally even wise by that extravagant kind of brain trauma known as life." Matthew Sharpe, author of The Sleeping Father

Review:

"McPhee is astonishing — her storytelling makes me want to write (the highest praise another writer can offer). This is a whimsical, magical book." Suzanne Finnamore, author of Otherwise Engaged

Synopsis:

Heralded as "a smart novel of love, lust and life's miraculous randomness" (O, The Oprah Magazine), this lush new novel explores the complexities of familial relationships, as well as the nature of desire, love and motherhood.

About the Author

Jenny McPhee is the author of The Center of Things, a novel, and the coauthor of Girls: Ordinary Girls and Their Extraordinary Pursuits. She is the translator of Paolo Maurensig's Canone Inverso and of Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Glimmer Train, Zoetrope, and Brooklyn Review, and her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and Bookforum, among others. She is on the board of the Bronx Academy of Letters.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743260725
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Free Press
Author:
McPhee, Jenny
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Sisters
Subject:
New York
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Series Volume:
no. 8
Publication Date:
June 7, 2004
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.76x5.74x.94 in. .77 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

No Ordinary Matter
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Free Press - English 9780743260725 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "McPhee (The Center of Things) throws more curveballs than a big league pitcher in this frenetic New York romantic comedy. As the novel begins, Veronica Moore, an up-and-coming soap opera and musical writer, is grappling with the news that her sister, Lillian, a tall, stunning blond neurologist, has engineered her own pregnancy. Alex Drake, the out-of-work actor Lillian seduced, has no idea that he's about to become a father. At the same time, Lillian and Veronica hire Bryan Byrd, a private investigator and jazz musician, in an attempt to uncover secrets that their own father may have been keeping before he died 25 years earlier. When Veronica discovers that the newest actor to grace the set of the show she writes for, Ordinary Matters, is none other than Alex Drake, she is determined to find out if he is the same man who unsuspectingly impregnated her sister. An ill-advised horse-drawn carriage ride turns into a full-blown romance — and Veronica can't find the courage to tell Lillian. Meanwhile, the sisters are being tailed by two detectives, who indirectly uncover secrets in the Moore gene pool that make Ordinary Matters look like classic drama. 'Soap operas,' Veronica decides, are 'even more implausible than musicals,' though apparently everyday life can be the most preposterous of all. McPhee's latest is sure to serve as a guilty pleasure for many this summer. 5-city author tour. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. (June )" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "For McPhee, it would seem, the world is a fascinating machine with intricate parts that somehow fit together: Broadway, television, brain chemistry, academia, motherhood, family, feminism, beauty, jealousy, love, sex and work — and that's what she models her novel on. It's a heady mix, and an ambitious undertaking. She has wit and patience with her sometimes exasperating characters, and a demonstrated skill as ringmaster to her intricate plot circles and the ideas that make them swirl." (read the entire Salon.com review)
"Review" by , "Is this some sort of postmodern whodunit? Not exactly — more like an old-fashioned farce. So absurdly improbable that it can be swallowed whole: a witty spoof, nicely put together and hard to put down."
"Review" by , "Second novelist McPhee successfully pulls off this souped-up, big-hearted soap. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Jenny McPhee is a lot of fun and is brimming with talent. In her new novel No Ordinary Matter, her dialogue and narrative style are charged with volcanic radiation and she knows how to carry a story along through the intrigues and wonderful mysteries of the lives of two professional women. A daring and charming book."
"Review" by , "Even though Lillian, the neurologist in Jenny McPhee's new novel, would say I don't really know why I laughed so much when I read it, I still think it's because No Ordinary Matter is very funny. It's also a profound description of how we're all made crazy and sad and occasionally even wise by that extravagant kind of brain trauma known as life."
"Review" by , "McPhee is astonishing — her storytelling makes me want to write (the highest praise another writer can offer). This is a whimsical, magical book."
"Synopsis" by , Heralded as "a smart novel of love, lust and life's miraculous randomness" (O, The Oprah Magazine), this lush new novel explores the complexities of familial relationships, as well as the nature of desire, love and motherhood.
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