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The Unfortunates
by Sophie Mcmanus


Overview -

Long-listed for the NBCC's John Leonard Prize

This extraordinary debut novel by Sophie McManus is a contemporary American tragedy of breathtaking scope: a dramatic story of pharmaceutical trials and Wall Street corruption; of pride and prejudice; of paranoia and office politics; of inheritance, influence, class, and power.  Read more...


 
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More About The Unfortunates by Sophie Mcmanus
 
 
 
Overview

Long-listed for the NBCC's John Leonard Prize

This extraordinary debut novel by Sophie McManus is a contemporary American tragedy of breathtaking scope: a dramatic story of pharmaceutical trials and Wall Street corruption; of pride and prejudice; of paranoia and office politics; of inheritance, influence, class, and power.

Cecilia Somner's fate hangs in the balance. A larger-than-life heiress to a robber baron's fortune, once known as much for her cruel wit as for her tremendous generosity, CeCe is now in opulent decline. Afflicted with a rare disease and touched by mortality for the first time, she finds her gilded, by - gone values colliding with an unforgiving present. Along with her troubled son, George, and his out - sider wife, Iris, CeCe must face the Somners' dark legacy and the corrupting nature of wealth. As the Somner family struggles to find a solution to its troubles, the secrets and lies between CeCe, George, and Iris grow entangled. CeCe's world topples, culminating in a startling turn of events that is as unforgettable as it is life-changing.

While no riches can put things right for the unfortunate Somners, when all is lost, they learn what life beyond the long, shimmering shadow cast by the Somner dynasty may become. Sophie McManus' "The Unfortunates," hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, is most of all a meditation on love: as delusional obsession, as transformation, and ultimately as a coming to grace.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374114503
  • ISBN-10: 0374114501
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: June 2015
  • Page Count: 368


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Sagas

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-07-06
  • Reviewer: Staff

McManus's first novel is a biting satire of the idle rich. Cecilia "CeCe" Somner, a rubber industry heiress in her 70s, enters an experimental clinical trial to cure her Parkinson's-like tremors. While she is away, her troubled adult son, George, spends his time writing the libretto for a dystopian opera. When he can't find anyone to produce it, he tells his wife, Iris, a onetime punk musician, that he will raise the money on his own. His sister lives in Rio with her architect wife and refuses to visit CeCe because she is pregnant and they are estranged. As CeCe goes through her clinical trial, George neglects his job working for an arts foundation in order to finish his opera. Unfortunate choices are made, with terrible repercussions for CeCe, George, and Iris that perhaps not even vast sums of money can rectify. The author writes with subtle wit about the culturally isolated 1% and sends up the gargoyle-esque CeCe, who is out of step with contemporary society. This leaves readers to identify with Iris, the outsider to this world of incredible, indecent privilege. Only near the end does McManus falter in asking us to see the fates visited upon her characters as tragic. Despite this, she has found a new way to dramatize Fitzgerald's oft-quoted statement, "The rich are different from you and me." (June)

 
BAM Customer Reviews