By Alison Espach
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9781439191859, 320pp.)
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
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In her ruefully funny and wickedly perceptive debut novel, Alison Espach deftly dissects matters of the heart and captures the lives of children and adults as they come to terms with life, death, and love.
At the center of this affluent suburban universe is Emily Vidal, a smart and snarky teenager, who gets involved in a suspect relationship with one of the adults after witnessing a suicide in her neighborhood. Among the cast of unforgettable characters is Emily’s father, whose fiftieth birthday party has the adults descending upon the Vidal’s patio; her mother, who has orchestrated the elaborate party even though she and her husband are getting a divorce; and an assortment of eccentric neighbors, high school teachers, and teenagers who teem with anxiety and sexuality and an unbridled desire to be noticed, and ultimately loved.
An irresistible chronicle of a modern young woman’s struggle to grow up, The Adults lays bare—in perfect pitch—a world where an adult and a child can so dangerously be mistaken for the same exact thing.
Alison Espach is a graduate of the Washington University in St. Louis MFA program. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Five Chapters, Glamour and other magazines. She grew up in Connecticut and now teaches creative writing in New York.
“Coming of age with a quick wit and a sharp eye…The Adults is as idiosyncratic as it is stirring.” -New York Times
A “razor sharp debut novel…a wry, devastatingly funny coming-of-age tale.” —Marie Claire
A “fierce, tender adolescent narrative.” –The New York Times Book Review
“This cri de coeur carries a freshness and charm.” —San Francisco Chronicle