Ashley Prentice Norton, "If You Left"
A seductive novel about a privileged but damaged Manhattan wife whose main source of stability her marriage comes under threat, from forces both without and within.
For most of their marriage, Althea has fluctuated betweenextreme depressive and manic states what she calls the Tombs and the Visions and Oliver has been the steady hand that guided her to safety. This summer, Althea decides that she will be different from here on. She will be the loving, sexy wife Oliver wants, and the reliable, affectionate mother their nine year-old daughter Clem deserves. Her plan: to bring Clem to their East Hampton home once school is out with no summer girl to care for her this time and become normal. But Oliver is distant and controlling, and his relationship with their interior decorator seems a bit too close; Clem has learned to be self-sufficient, and getting to know her now feels like very hard work for Althea. Into this scene enters the much younger, David Foster Wallace reading house painter, who reaches something in Althea that has been long buried. Fearless, darkly funny, and compulsively readable, If You Left explores the complex dance that is the bipolar marriage, and the possibility that to move forward, we might have to destroythe very thingswe've worked hardest to build.
ASHLEY PRENTICE NORTON is a graduate of Exeter, Georgetown, and the Creative Writing Program at New York University.Her critically acclaimed first novel, The Chocolate Money, was heralded as "darkly funny . . . compulsively readable" by People. She lives in New York with her husband and three children.
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