When the elliptical new drama teacher at Stellar Plains High School chooses "Lysistrata" as the school play-the comedy by Aristophanes in which women stop having sex with men in order to end a war-a strange spell seems to be cast over the school.Read more...
When the elliptical new drama teacher at Stellar Plains High School chooses "Lysistrata" as the school play-the comedy by Aristophanes in which women stop having sex with men in order to end a war-a strange spell seems to be cast over the school. Or, at least, over the women. One by one throughout the high school community, perfectly healthy, normal women and teenage girls turn away from their husbands and boyfriends in the bedroom, for reasons they don't really understand. As the women worry over their loss of passion and the men become by turns unhappy, offended, and above all, confused, both sides are forced to look at their shared history, and at their sexual selves in a new light.
Meg Wolitzers's newest book, "The Interestings," is now available from Riverhead Books.
New paperback releases for reading groups
LAST GASP IN DODGE CITY
Expertly crafted and wonderfully authentic, Mary Doria Russell’s novel Doc is a crackerjack account of the life of Doc Holliday. Raised in the South, trained as a dentist—and dying from tuberculosis—Dr. John Henry Holliday, at the age of 22, leaves his Atlanta home for the West in a last-ditch attempt to save his own life. With the hope that the dry air of the frontier will cure what ails him, Doc settles in Dodge City, Kansas, opening a dentist’s office and earning money as a gambler. When a boy named Johnnie Sanders is found dead, the murder puts lawman Wyatt Earp on high alert. Doc, as it turns out, also has an interest in the crime. The friendship of these two larger-than-life legends is memorably rendered by Russell, who writes expertly about one of the richest chapters in America’s past.
In The Story of Beautiful Girl, Rachel Simon offers a stirring tale about two unlikely lovers: Homan, a deaf black man, and developmentally disabled Lynnie, who is young and white. The time is 1968, and the place is the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. In the midst of the school’s oppressive atmosphere, Lynnie and Homan develop serious feelings for one another and decide to escape. When Lynnie gives birth to their baby, she’s forced to leave the infant with a kind widow named Martha. Brought back to the school by authorities, Lynnie finds herself hopelessly separated from Homan, who gets away safely. Simon skillfully develops their separate stories into a narrative that spans 40 years, tracing the arc of their growth into parents and successful communicators. This is a poignant story with sensitive subject matter at its heart, yet Simon never lapses into sentimentality. Her courageous novel is at once an unforgettable love story and a moving look at the lives of the disabled.
TOP PICK IN BOOK CLUBS
Set in Stellar Plains, New Jersey, Meg Wolitzer’s latest novel takes its provocative premise from an ancient Greek play. When high school drama teacher Fran Heller holds rehearsals for Aristophanes’ Lysistrata—in which the women of Greece stop having sex in an effort to end the Peloponnesian War—a mysterious change overcomes the town’s female population. Losing all desire for sex, the women of Stellar Plains distance themselves from their partners. The condition affects long-established couples and new lovers alike, from ardent English instructors Robby and Dory Lang to their young daughter Willa. Matters come to a head when Marissa Clayborn, who plays Lysistrata, begins a personal demonstration against the war in Afghanistan. Providing the reader with plenty of food for thought regarding the impulses that drive both genders, The Uncoupling is a highly illuminating and wonderfully humorous novel.