Poison (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393061017, 608pp.

Publication Date: April 17, 2006

List Price: 25.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A tour de force about marriage, deceit, and envy, "rich in fairy tale imagery and in vivid metaphors" (Publishers Weekly).

The death of flamboyant writer and womanizer Peter Grosvenor sets in motion a series of spiraling events surrounding his legacy and his estate. His bitter third wife, his two children, his sister, his friends, and his would-be biographers are drawn into a maelstrom of intense memories and painful encounters as each of the major players in Peter's life seeks to appropriate Peter's estate for his or her own purposes. As a complex story of passion, jealousy, and loss unfolds, the figures that had once blossomed in Peter's presence spin off into their own orbits and turn against one another without the anchor of his charismatic presence. Ultimately, the tragedy and scandal that marred his life cannot be ended even by his death. Susan Fromberg Schaeffer writes with exquisite flavor and measure; character, history, and relationships build into a large, minutely detailed canvas and remind us why she is a master of the epic novel. Reading group guide included.

About the Author

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer (1940 - 2011) was a Professor of English and author of fourteen novels, six poetry collections, and other works.

Praise For Poison: A Novel

Schaeffer is a masterful storyteller, revealing the innermost lives of her meticulously created characters until we know them better than we know ourselves....Schaeffer's extraordinarily insightful and stylish prose alone makes this worth reading.

Utterly fascinating fiction....a novel in which nearly everything happens in terms of the range of human behavior and emotions....[Schaeffer] deftly takes us in and out of the minds of all her characters, exposing their vulnerabilities, neuroses, psychoses, fears, anxieties, agendas.

Poison reads as if Virginia Woolf had taken a surgeon's scalpel and cut to the heart of a literary legend.

— Ellen Feldman