By Eric Puchner
(Scribner, Paperback, 9780743270496, 384pp.)
Publication Date: September 14, 2010
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Warren Ziller moved his family to Southern California in search of a charmed life, and to all appearances, he found it: a gated community not far from the beach, amid the affluent splendor of the 1980s. But the Zillers’ American dream is about to be rudely interrupted. Warren has squandered their savings on a bad real estate investment, which he conceals from his wife, Camille, who misreads his secrecy as a sign of an affair. Their children, Dustin, Lyle, and Jonas, have grown as distant as satellites, too busy with their own betrayals and rebellions to notice their parents’ distress. When tragedy strikes, the Zillers are forced to move to Warren’s abandoned housing development in the desert. In this comically bleak new home, each must reckon with what’s led them there and who’s to blame—and whether they can summon the forgiveness needed to hold the family together.
With penetrating insights into modern life and an uncanny eye for everyday absurdities, Eric Puchner delivers a wildly funny, heartbreaking, and thoroughly original portrait of an American family.
Eric Puchner is an assistant professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College. He has received a Pushcart Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. His short story collection, Music Through the Floor, was a finalist for the NY Public Library’s Young Lions Award. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, novelist Katharine Noel, and their children.
In Eric Puchner's novel Model Home, a father relocates his family from the Midwest to Southern California, but his dreams for success, and theirs, falls flat. It's the first novel by the award-winning short-story writer. More at NPR.org
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“The only conclusion to come to after reading this novel is that Eric Puchner is a massive talent…Each character is perfectly drawn and deeply interesting. Go read this book.” --McSweeney’s
“Puchner’s well-constructed tale of a house of pain built on a foundation of secrets echoes Updike and Easton Ellis.” --People magazine, 4 stars
“Puchner is an extraordinarily talented writer... a master of mood and tone, able to make moments of pure hilarity follow heartbreak with the seamlessness of real life.”