Synopses & Reviews
For generations the Burdens were one of the wealthiest families in New York, thanks to the inherited fortune of Cornelius "The Commodore" Vanderbilt. By 1955, the year of Wendy Burden's birth, the Burdens had become a clan of overfunded, quirky and brainy, steadfastly chauvinistic, and ultimately doomed bluebloods on the verge of financial and moral decline—and were rarely seen not holding a drink.
In Dead End Gene Pool, Wendy invites listeners to meet her tragically flawed family, including an uncle with a fondness for Hitler, a grandfather who believes you can never have enough household staff, and a remarkably flatulent grandmother. At the heart of the story is Wendy's glamorous and aloof mother, who, after her husband's suicide, travels the world in search of the perfect sea and ski tan, leaving her three children in the care of a chain-smoking Scottish nanny, Fifth Avenue grandparents, and an assorted cast of long-suffering household servants (who Wendy and her brothers love to terrorize). Rife with humor, heartbreak, family intrigue, and booze, Dead End Gene Pool offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of old money and gives truth to an old maxim: The rich are different.
In the tradition of Sean Wilsey's Oh the Glory of It All and Augusten Burroughs's Running with Scissors, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt gives audiences a grand tour of the world of wealth and WASPish peculiarity, in her irreverent and darkly humorous memoir.
About the Author
Wendy Burden, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, is a former illustrator, zookeeper, taxidermist, and owner and chef of the bistro Chez Wendy. She also served as the art director of a pornographic magazine but was fired for being too tasteful. Coleen Marlo is an accomplished actor who has appeared on stage, in film, and on television, and is a member of the prestigious Actors Studio. She also taught acting for ten years at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, Coleen has been awarded three Listen-Up Awards from Publishers Weekly, including for Third World America by Arianna Huffington and The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum. She has also earned three Audie Award nominations, winning for Snakewoman of Little Egypt by Robert Hellenga. Publishers Weekly has named Coleen Audiobook Reader of the Year for 2010.