Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Maria Semple used to write for Arrested Development. She brings that same level of cleverness, wit, charm, and biting social critique to her new novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  — a book which Jonathan Franzen said he “tore through with heedless pleasure.” A book that, incidentally, is sohotrightnow.

In her portrait of Bernadette Fox — a brilliant-yet-listless, agoraphobic, overachieving former architect — Semple explores what happens to creative people when they don’t create. She weaves the story of Bernadette’s mysterious disappearance in the form of an epistolary novel. Bee, Bernadette’s teenage daughter, is the narrator. Pulling together emails, notes, letters, Bee sorts through elements of her mother’s past in order to make sense of the present. Featuring pretentious Seattle helicopter parents, TED talks, MacArthur fellowships, an Antarctic cruise, Where’d You Go Bernadette provides readers with both humor and substance. Semple’s narrative tackles the bigger themes of resilience amidst change and failure, the effects of loneliness and isolation on marriage, and the inherent need for a creative outlet  …all while being wildly funny.

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