I was hooked right from the beginning of this provocative new contemporary novel by Ramona Ausubel.
They’re just another rich family spending Labor Day weekend at their summer home on Martha’s Vineyard. Mom, dad, three kids. When the call comes in that changes all their lives forever.
Fern and Edgar have been living a life of ease and plenty. They’ve been living solely on the money provided by Fern’s parents. Edgar’s been working on a novel about a guy who spurns his family money and makes it on his own; this for ten years now. While Fern’s been busy being a mother to a nine-year old daughter named Cricket and twin five- year old boys. Why on earth would anyone work a real job if they did not have to?
The call is from a lawyer. This particular lawyer has been working on the estate of Fern’s recently deceased parents. That’s yet another very unusual story. Simply put, there is NO more money; not one red cent. So how will Edgar finish that novel? And how will they live with no money coming in? Will Edgar have to crawl back to his father and ask for an actual job in the family steel business? Ugh, God help them all.
Both Fern and Edgar take turns for the worse. Neither knows the other has gone away. Yes, gone without notice. And the three kids are left alone, for days. Cricket is at the helm. This really heated the story up!
We are shown how being drafted into the Viet Nam war affected Fern’s twin brother Ben. And then we discover why Fern’s parents are the way they are. And how Edgar’s mother became the woman she is.
This witty and extremely insightful novel shows you how American wealth and class changed families. How women who were seemingly normal became, well, not normal. There was a so-called check list back in the day, and a lady who felt she needed to step it up needed to do so in a certain way. Edgar’s mother was that woman.
The writing is magical. The characters unforgettable. There’s even a modern-day giant. It takes us back to a time when everything was simpler in many ways, but more complicated in many others.
Ramona Ausubel won awards for her first novel, NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT ALL OF US. She’s definitely an author to keep your eye on.
My finished hardcover came straight from Riverhead, the publisher. How generous. I am grateful.