Synopses & Reviews
A Los Angeles Times bestseller and one of the Washington Post's best books of the year, LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE charts the lives of "three richly textured characters whose irreducible idiosyncrasies, griefs, longings, and loves will surely expand our sense of what it means to be like normal people" (Chicago Tribune). The story of this family revolves around an off-kilter center: Lena, who is forty-eight years old but mentally locked in childhood. Following Lena's escape from her residential home with her troubled twelve-year-old niece and her widowed mother's search for them, Karen Bender moves deftly between past and present, through three entire lifetimes in a single day, as each character searches for love and acceptance in a world where normalcy is elusive. "Poignantly and brilliantly portrayed" (TimeOut New York), LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE is a hilarious, heartbreaking, unforgettable family drama that resonates long after the last page is turned.
In her first novel, Karen Bender has created three characters whose family revolves around an off-kilter center. As the three search for normalcy, love and acceptance, the time frames of their world keeps slipping from past to present.
About the Author
Karen E. Bender's first novel excerpts have been published in THE NEW YORKER, GRANTA, and STORY magazines. The chapter "Eternal Love" was chosen by Annie Proulx to appear in THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 1997, and was read by Joanne Woodward to a sold-out crowd at Symphony Space in New York; the recording of that reading aired on NPR's SELECTED SHORTSS. Bender also received a prestigious Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award based on a draft of this novel, and it was recently optioned for TV movie development. Picador will publish the novel in England. Bender's fiction has appeared in the IOWA REVIEW and the KENYON REVIEW and has been reprinted in PUSHCART PRIZE XVIII and other anthologies. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she lives in New York with her husband, the writer Robert Anthony Siegel, and their son.