Somebody Else's Daughter
By Elizabeth Brundage
(Plume, Paperback, 9780452295377, 352pp.)
Publication Date: April 7, 2009
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A taut, complex psychological thriller from the author of The Doctor's Wife
Like The Doctor's Wife - which The Boston Globe called "a compelling read"-Somebody Else's Daughter is a literary page-turner peopled with fascinating and disturbing characters. In the idyllic Berkshires, at the prestigious Pioneer School, there are dark secrets that threaten to come to light. Willa Golding, a student, has been brought up by her adoptive parents in elegant prosperity, but they have fled a mysterious and shameful past. Her biological father, a failing writer and former drug addict, needs to see the daughter he abandoned, and so he gains a teaching position at the school. A feminist sculptor initiates a reckless affair, the Pioneer students live in a world to which adults turn a blind eye, and the headmaster's wife is busy keeping her husband's current indiscretions well hidden. Building to a breathtaking collision between two fathers-biological and adoptive, past and present- Somebody Else's Daughter is both a suspenseful thriller and a probing study of richly conflicted characters in emotional turmoil.
Elizabeth Brundage is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she earned an MFA in fiction and a James Michener award. Her short fiction has been published in the Greensboro Review, Witness Magazine, and New Letters, and she contributed to the anthology Thicker Than Blood: I’ve Always Meant to Tell You, Letters to Our Mothers.
1. Many of the book's characters mirror each other—Jack vs. Joe as unfaithful husbands; Joe and Claire, who both use sex as a commodity; Pearl and Willa, the orphaned daughters; Maggie and Candace, the wronged wives. Why does the author choose to use this device? What do we learn about the characters by comparing and contrasting their similarities and differences?
"[A] deft balancing act of taut plot and richly drawn characters. . .Brundage is a storyteller supreme."
"Riveting...very moving and completely involving. . . Brundage is a brilliant novelist."
"Brundage has a penchant for turning topical subjects into gripping novels...Sex, drugs, violence and murder are all in the Brundage mix."
-The Washington Post
"[A] well-turned thriller. . . Brundage writes with startling clarity."
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A taut tale of suspense rounded out with sharp observations on parenting, adoption and the fraught business of keeping up appearances."
-New York Observer