Cheryl has never been the right kind of country-club wife. She's always felt like an outsider, and now, in her mid-forties--facing the harsh realities of aging while her marriage disintegrates and her troubled stepson, Teddy, is kicked out of college--she feels cast adrift by the sparkling seaside community of Little Neck Cove, Connecticut. Read more...
Cheryl has never been the right kind of country-club wife. She's always felt like an outsider, and now, in her mid-forties--facing the harsh realities of aging while her marriage disintegrates and her troubled stepson, Teddy, is kicked out of college--she feels cast adrift by the sparkling seaside community of Little Neck Cove, Connecticut. So when Teddy shows up at home just as a storm brewing off the coast threatens to destroy the precarious safe haven of the cove, she joins him in an epic downward spiral.
The Invaders, a searing follow-up to Karolina Waclawiak's critically acclaimed debut novel, How to Get Into the Twin Palms, casts a harsh light on the glossy sheen of even the most "perfect" lives in America's exclusive beach communities. With sharp wit and dark humor, The Invaders exposes the lies and insecurities that run like faultlines through our culture, threatening to pitch bored housewives, pill-popping children, and suspicious neighbors headlong into the suburban abyss.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-05-04
- Reviewer: Staff
A middle-aged woman clinging to the tattered edges of her marriage strikes up an unlikely friendship with her stepson, a drug-addicted Ivy League expellee, in this inviting but superficial novel by Waclawiak (How to Get into the Twin Palms). Set in fictional Little Neck Cove, along Connecticut’s private beach–chocked Long Island Sound shore, the novel opens with a small disaster—co-protagonist Cheryl is accosted on a nature trail and attacks her harasser, a local young man, damaging his face—and careers toward a much larger one: a hurricane that threatens to deface the postcard-perfect community. Cheryl, who has ascended from outlet-mall clerk to pastel-clad housewife, resents her neighbors, who harbor irrational fears about trespassers. Meanwhile, her husband’s son, Teddy, tries to imagine a future for himself amid a cloud of pills and booze, until his antics culminate in a humiliating (and possibly permanent) injury. Car wrecks on tennis courts, affairs between neighbors, and drunken spats at the country club: this material may be well but it’s always worth revisiting. Waclawiak’s treatment of it, however, too often dissolves into clichéd black-and-white moralizing. Of an out-of-place fisherman, one local woman says, “He’s Mexican. We have to do something.” The effect here is to perpetuate, rather than complicate, received notions among the suburban upper crust. (July)