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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors



Brandon Bartlett, the fictional mayor of Portland in my novel Sherwood Nation, is addicted to playing video games. In a city he's all but lost... Continue »
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Gilded Age

by

Gilded Age Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A debut author transforms Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth into a powerful modern story of one woman's struggle with independence and love.

Ellie Hart made a brilliant marriage in New York, but it ended in a scandalous divorce and thirty days in Sierra Tucson rehab. Now, returning home to Cleveland, she finds that, despite feminist lip service, she will still need a husband to be socially complete. A woman's sexual reputation matters, and so does her family name in the treacherous social terrain where old money meets new: charitable benefits and tequila body shots, inherited diamonds and viper-bite lip piercings, country house weekends and sexting. Ellie finds that her beauty is a powerful tool in this world, but it has its limitations, even liabilities. Through one misstep after another, Ellie mishandles her second act. Her options narrow, her prospects contract, until she faces a desperate choice.

Review:

"McMillan's debut novel, inspired by Edith Wharton's House of Mirth, is a hard-edged look at the vacuous, insipid elite of modern-day Cleveland, Ohio. Ellie Hart, back home after rehab and divorce, quickly falls into her old ways, charming men in her search for a wealthy husband, and alienating women. She hooks up with old friend William Selden, who seems more substantial than Ellie's shallow 'friends.' But when Ellie's divorce settlement disappears in a Ponzi scheme, and her wild ways send Selden away, her desperation leads her to the ambitious, social-climbing Leforte and the comforts of his 'enfolding luxury.' While the novel tips its hat to House of Mirth, a simple comparison doesn't do McMillan justice. Her choice of alternating narration — from first-person (in the form of a childhood friend) to third, rather than wholly omniscient — allows the reader to get to know the increasingly unlikable narrator, a woman trying to absolve herself of guilt over her friend's downfall. It's hard to feel sympathy for Ellie, whose desire for acceptance makes learning from her mistakes unlikely. Here is a group of people who waste their resources playing a meaningless game of social comeuppance. McMillan's characters may lack the complexity of Wharton's, but she has a sharp eye when it comes to their weaknesses. Agent: Elizabeth Kaplan." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"If Edith Wharton had lived in the contemporary Midwest, here is the novel she would have written. From the dowager who pins a half million dollars in diamonds on her fleece vest to the native son burdened by a decaying family estate, Claire McMillan gets it all right as she spins an intelligent and engrossing story of class, feminism, and beautiful but doomed Ellie Hart." Susan Rebecca White, author of A Soft Place to Land

Review:

"Claire McMillan has captured Cleveland society in her clever net and with it brought back Lily Bart to vivid life in this witty, perceptive, and compulsively readable story of our human frailties, our strivings for success and love." Sheila Kohler, author of Becoming Jane Eyre

Review:

"Claire McMillan has written a delightful first novel, which cleverly uses The House of Mirth as a counterpoint for her own perceptive take on contemporary social mores. A very fun read for Wharton's fans and anyone who likes a good story." Emily Mitchell, author of The Last Summer of the World

Review:

"Claire McMillan's mesmerizing depiction of contemporary Rust Belt aristocracy — no less stratified and coded than Edith Wharton's New York — is also a tender look at friendship and the secret of happiness. The haunting beauty of this novel lingers after the final page." Irina Reyn, author of What Happened to Anna K.

Review:

"In Gilded Age, Claire McMillan manages to both channel Edith Wharton and tell a compelling contemporary story of a woman unable to define herself through anything but the men who who desire her." Lily King, author of Father of the Rain

Review:

"Looking for a beach read with a touch of literary pedigree?...[A] rich romp of a read." Elle

Review:

"McMillan cleverly uses Wharton's classic novel to draw parallels between the social mores of two starkly different centuries....An engrossing first novel." Library Journal

Synopsis:

Intelligent, witty, and poignant, Gilded Age presents a modern Edith Wharton heroine — dramatically beautiful, socially prominent, and just a bit unconventional — whose return to the hothouse of Cleveland society revives rivalries, raises eyebrows, and reveals the tender vulnerabilities of a woman struggling to reconcile her desire for independence and her need for love.

With a keen eye for the perfect detail and a heart big enough to embrace those she observes, Claire McMillan has written an assured and revelatory debut novel about class, gender, and the timeless conundrum of femininity.

Synopsis:

Intelligent, witty, and poignant, Gilded Age presents a modern Edith Wharton heroine—dramatically beautiful, socially prominent, and just a bit unconventional—whose return to the hothouse of Cleveland society revives rivalries, raises eyebrows, and reveals the tender vulnerabilities of a woman struggling to reconcile her desire for independence and her need for love.

ELEANOR HART had made a brilliant marriage in New York, but it ended in a scandalous divorce and thirty days in Sierra Tucson rehab. Now she finds that, despite feminist lip service, she will still need a husband to be socially complete. A womans sexual reputation matters, and so does her family name. Ellie must navigate the treacherous social terrain where old money meets new: charitable benefits and tequila body shots, inherited diamonds and viper-bite lip piercings, country house weekends and sexting. She finds that her beauty is a powerful tool in this world, but it has its limitations, even liabilities. Through one misstep after another, Ellie mishandles her second act. Her options narrow, her future prospects contract, until she faces a desperate choice.

With a keen eye for the perfect detail and a heart big enough to embrace those she observes, Claire McMillan has written an assured and revelatory debut novel about class, gender, and the timeless conundrum of femininity.

About the Author

Claire McMillan grew up in Pasadena, California and now lives in Cleveland on her husband's family's farm with their three children. She practiced law until 2003 and then received her MFA in creative writing from Bennington College. This is her first novel.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451640472
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
McMillan, Claire
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literature-Contemporary Women
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20120612
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Gilded Age Used Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781451640472 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "McMillan's debut novel, inspired by Edith Wharton's House of Mirth, is a hard-edged look at the vacuous, insipid elite of modern-day Cleveland, Ohio. Ellie Hart, back home after rehab and divorce, quickly falls into her old ways, charming men in her search for a wealthy husband, and alienating women. She hooks up with old friend William Selden, who seems more substantial than Ellie's shallow 'friends.' But when Ellie's divorce settlement disappears in a Ponzi scheme, and her wild ways send Selden away, her desperation leads her to the ambitious, social-climbing Leforte and the comforts of his 'enfolding luxury.' While the novel tips its hat to House of Mirth, a simple comparison doesn't do McMillan justice. Her choice of alternating narration — from first-person (in the form of a childhood friend) to third, rather than wholly omniscient — allows the reader to get to know the increasingly unlikable narrator, a woman trying to absolve herself of guilt over her friend's downfall. It's hard to feel sympathy for Ellie, whose desire for acceptance makes learning from her mistakes unlikely. Here is a group of people who waste their resources playing a meaningless game of social comeuppance. McMillan's characters may lack the complexity of Wharton's, but she has a sharp eye when it comes to their weaknesses. Agent: Elizabeth Kaplan." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "If Edith Wharton had lived in the contemporary Midwest, here is the novel she would have written. From the dowager who pins a half million dollars in diamonds on her fleece vest to the native son burdened by a decaying family estate, Claire McMillan gets it all right as she spins an intelligent and engrossing story of class, feminism, and beautiful but doomed Ellie Hart."
"Review" by , "Claire McMillan has captured Cleveland society in her clever net and with it brought back Lily Bart to vivid life in this witty, perceptive, and compulsively readable story of our human frailties, our strivings for success and love."
"Review" by , "Claire McMillan has written a delightful first novel, which cleverly uses The House of Mirth as a counterpoint for her own perceptive take on contemporary social mores. A very fun read for Wharton's fans and anyone who likes a good story."
"Review" by , "Claire McMillan's mesmerizing depiction of contemporary Rust Belt aristocracy — no less stratified and coded than Edith Wharton's New York — is also a tender look at friendship and the secret of happiness. The haunting beauty of this novel lingers after the final page."
"Review" by , "In Gilded Age, Claire McMillan manages to both channel Edith Wharton and tell a compelling contemporary story of a woman unable to define herself through anything but the men who who desire her."
"Review" by , "Looking for a beach read with a touch of literary pedigree?...[A] rich romp of a read."
"Review" by , "McMillan cleverly uses Wharton's classic novel to draw parallels between the social mores of two starkly different centuries....An engrossing first novel."
"Synopsis" by , Intelligent, witty, and poignant, Gilded Age presents a modern Edith Wharton heroine — dramatically beautiful, socially prominent, and just a bit unconventional — whose return to the hothouse of Cleveland society revives rivalries, raises eyebrows, and reveals the tender vulnerabilities of a woman struggling to reconcile her desire for independence and her need for love.

With a keen eye for the perfect detail and a heart big enough to embrace those she observes, Claire McMillan has written an assured and revelatory debut novel about class, gender, and the timeless conundrum of femininity.

"Synopsis" by , Intelligent, witty, and poignant, Gilded Age presents a modern Edith Wharton heroine—dramatically beautiful, socially prominent, and just a bit unconventional—whose return to the hothouse of Cleveland society revives rivalries, raises eyebrows, and reveals the tender vulnerabilities of a woman struggling to reconcile her desire for independence and her need for love.

ELEANOR HART had made a brilliant marriage in New York, but it ended in a scandalous divorce and thirty days in Sierra Tucson rehab. Now she finds that, despite feminist lip service, she will still need a husband to be socially complete. A womans sexual reputation matters, and so does her family name. Ellie must navigate the treacherous social terrain where old money meets new: charitable benefits and tequila body shots, inherited diamonds and viper-bite lip piercings, country house weekends and sexting. She finds that her beauty is a powerful tool in this world, but it has its limitations, even liabilities. Through one misstep after another, Ellie mishandles her second act. Her options narrow, her future prospects contract, until she faces a desperate choice.

With a keen eye for the perfect detail and a heart big enough to embrace those she observes, Claire McMillan has written an assured and revelatory debut novel about class, gender, and the timeless conundrum of femininity.

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