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American Wife (New York Times Notable Books)

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American Wife (New York Times Notable Books) Cover

ISBN13: 9780812975406
ISBN10: 0812975405
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband's presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House — and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, almost in opposition to itself.

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.

As Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her new-found good fortune. And when Charlie eventually becomes President, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seek — one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility. As Charlie's tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making: How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?

In Alice Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld has created her most dynamic and complex heroine yet. American Wife is a gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and the exigencies of fate into a brilliant tapestry — a novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare.

Review:

"Curtis Sittenfeld is an amazing writer, and American Wife is a brave and moving novel about the intersection of private and public life in America. Ambitious and humble at the same time, Sittenfeld refuses to trivialize or simplify people, whether real or imagined." Richard Russo

Review:

"What a remarkable (and brave) thing: a compassionate, illuminating, and beautifully rendered portrait of a fictional Republican first lady with a life and husband very much like our actual Republican first lady's. Curtis Sittenfeld has written a novel as impressive as it is improbable." Kurt Andersen

Review:

"Ms. Sittenfeld deftly captures Alice's uneasy assimilation into the Blackwell clan's boisterous...and she proves equally adept at evoking the daily texture of their early married life." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Review:

"Curtis Sittenfeld boldly imagines the inner life of a first lady. Does she pull off a credible portrayal? Yes, unequivocally." USA Today

Review:

"Sittenfeld wraps her arms around it. The scope and detail of American Wife are reminiscent of Richard Russo." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Sittenfeld's most ambitious and impressive work to date." Chicago Tribune

Synopsis:

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president. In her small Wisconsin hometown, she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is seventeen shatters her identity and changes the trajectory of her life. More than a decade later, when the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family sweeps her off her feet, she is surprised to find herself admitted into a world of privilege. And when her husband unexpectedly becomes governor and then president, she discovers that she is married to a man she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with-and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona. As her husbands presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.

About the Author

Curtis Sittenfeld's first novel, Prep, was a national bestseller. It was chosen as one of the Ten Best Books of 2005 by The New York Times, will be published in fourteen foreign countries, has been optioned by Paramount Pictures. Sittenfeld's nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Salon, Allure, Glamour, and on NPR's "This American Life." She lives in Philadelphia.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Izmir girl, January 17, 2010 (view all comments by Izmir girl)
American Wife is a book that I think about again and again. The love story between the main character and her boyfriend/husband was very compelling.
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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
ldlombardo, January 3, 2010 (view all comments by ldlombardo)
This is the quintessential book of the decade. It is about a woman born in the 20th Century finding her way into the 21st Century. She is good, she is bad. She makes measured choices. She is not perfect, but she is perfectly interesting. "Faction" or fairy tale, this is a story that had me turning pages into the wee small hours of the morning. And don't even get me started on who she selected to be her lifetime partner. Boot-kickin' good!
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Elizabeth Lenaghan, November 23, 2009 (view all comments by Elizabeth Lenaghan)
When I was first told of the conceit of this book, I had no desire to read it. However, after seeing a few positive reviews and being compelled by Elizabeth Banks' performance of Laura Bush in Oliver Stone's W., I changed my mind (it should also be noted that I've read all of Sittenfeld's novels, which says something about how compulsively readable her books are, though I wouldn't have rated any of them higher than this). As far as the plot goes, I think this is the most sophisticated and intricate of Sittenfeld's efforts. Alice Blackwell is a fully realized character, in the best sense of the term. In fact, she becomes so real that you are either compelled to forgive Laura Bush for any/all complicity she had in the disaster of her husband's administration, or just forget the Bush White House was the inspiration for this novel altogether. (I actually found the latter more palatable in many parts of the novel, particularly those that allude to the President's sex life, but even those that revisit his social and war policies). Either way, the story provides enough "behind the scenes" gossip to fill its 500+ pages, and I found it a perfect companion for my solo-research trip (where it distracted me from a slight fear for flying and from wasting my evenings on television while I lounged in my hotel room alone). All of this said, there's something so easily forgettable about all of Sittenfeld's books, and this one (despite the loftiness of its subject matter) is no exception. I can't help but think a writer so talented she can make readers have empathy for a terrible man's wife should also be able to conjure up something I might recall hours after having read it. I will likely continue to indulge in Sittenfeld's books, but I hope they get less fluffy because I think she's capable of more.
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(3 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780812975406
Author:
Sittenfeld, Curtis
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Subject:
General
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Bildungsromans
Subject:
Presidents' spouses -- United States.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
New York Times Notable Books
Publication Date:
20090231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
A&#8221;<br><b><i>&#8211;Washington Post<br></i><b
Language:
English
Pages:
592
Dimensions:
7.97 x 5.18 x 1.21 in 1 lb

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American Wife (New York Times Notable Books) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$1.50 In Stock
Product details 592 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812975406 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Curtis Sittenfeld is an amazing writer, and American Wife is a brave and moving novel about the intersection of private and public life in America. Ambitious and humble at the same time, Sittenfeld refuses to trivialize or simplify people, whether real or imagined."
"Review" by , "What a remarkable (and brave) thing: a compassionate, illuminating, and beautifully rendered portrait of a fictional Republican first lady with a life and husband very much like our actual Republican first lady's. Curtis Sittenfeld has written a novel as impressive as it is improbable."
"Review" by , "Ms. Sittenfeld deftly captures Alice's uneasy assimilation into the Blackwell clan's boisterous...and she proves equally adept at evoking the daily texture of their early married life."
"Review" by , "Curtis Sittenfeld boldly imagines the inner life of a first lady. Does she pull off a credible portrayal? Yes, unequivocally."
"Review" by , "Sittenfeld wraps her arms around it. The scope and detail of American Wife are reminiscent of Richard Russo."
"Review" by , "Sittenfeld's most ambitious and impressive work to date."
"Synopsis" by , A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president. In her small Wisconsin hometown, she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is seventeen shatters her identity and changes the trajectory of her life. More than a decade later, when the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family sweeps her off her feet, she is surprised to find herself admitted into a world of privilege. And when her husband unexpectedly becomes governor and then president, she discovers that she is married to a man she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with-and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona. As her husbands presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.
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