By Susan Isaacs
Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781451605914, 320pp.
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Imagine King Lear as a comedy . . .
Elegant, amusing, and profoundly nasty tycoon Gloria Garrison, nee Goldberg, has a kingdom to bequeath to one of the grandchildren she barely knows. They're all twentysomethings who foolishly believe money isn't everything. Just shy of eighty, Gloria doesn't wish to watch the minutes tick by while the three dither over the issues of their generation--love, meaning, identity. She has summoned them all from New York for a weekend at her palatial home in Santa Fe. She has a single question to ask them: "Which one of you most deserves to inherit my business?" Gloria never anticipates the answer will be "not interested" times three. She created a brilliant, booming beauty business, Glory, Inc., that not only does well, but does good. And they say "no"? What's so grand about their lives that they would reject such a kingdom?
Daisy Goldberg is not only mad for movies, she's part of the film industry: East Coast story editor for one of the biggest studios. Her brother, Matt, the uber-sports buff, has a great job in public relations with Major League Baseball. And their cousin Raquel Goldberg, half-Latina, all Catholic, is a Legal Aid lawyer. They may like their work, but do they really like their lives? Would they be so foolish as to hold against their grandmother the pain she inflicted on every member of the family? As far as Gloria is concerned, this isn't about tender feelings. It's about millions of dollars; it's about living a life the ninety-nine percent dream of and the one percent know.
The weekend is full of surprises, not only for Daisy, Matt, and Raquel but also for Gloria. Memories have a way of intruding at the most inopportune times. And is Gloria's tough hide as impenetrable as she has always believed? Susan Isaacs is at her formidable best in Goldberg Variations, a novel that is both wickedly witty and a deeply moving tale of family and reconciliation.
“Gloria Garrison, née Goldberg, is the sort of matriarch who takes the passive out of passive-aggressive…Goldberg Variations is always at its most engaging when [Gloria] is at her least.”
“A deliciously wicked tale of family dysfunction…”
“The women who inhabit Isaacs’ books are smart, sexy, a little snarky, and filled with some serious chutzpah….Goldberg Variations is no exception.”
“Isaacs’ whip-smart, shrewdly scathing, and spirited portrait of a malevolent matriarch worthy of the Brothers Grimm and her Disneyesque coterie of too-good-to-be-true grandchildren is both a saucy satire and a redemptive study of the indelible bonds of families.”
“This wise, witty, relationship-driven novel is a truly original family saga….Readers will find Goldberg Variations enchanting from beginning to end.”
“Always sassy, smart and wickedly witty, Susan Isaacs’ novel is both hilariously funny and a moving tale of family, faith and reconciliation.”
“Isaacs is a master of witty fiction with an undercurrent of emotional truth.”
“Isaacs has created one tough cookie in Gloria Garrison.”