Woman No. 17: A Novel

  • 314 pages
  • Anglais
  • Format Kindle
Woman No. 17: A Novel

᱅ Format Kindle Read ῲ Woman No. 17: A Novel For Free ⚱ Ebook Author Edan Lepucki ⚵ This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof Copyright 2017 Edan LepuckiLADYChapter 1 It was the end of summer, the heat had arrived harsh and bright, bleaching the sidewalks and choking the flowers before they had a chance to wilt The freeways shimmered, any hotter and they might crack, might explode, and the poor cars would confetti into the air People were complaining, they were moving slowly They were swarming the beaches like tiny bugs upon the backs of dead animals I preferred to stay home ice cubes in the dog bowl, Riesling in the freezer The air conditioner was broken I had taken to sitting in the living room with the curtains drawn, my body edged with sweat like frosting on a cake, daring to see how hot it could get I ate salad for dinner every night and had almost checked myself and the boys into a hotel Id refrained because of the babysitter search What would applicants think if I requested they meet me poolside at the Roosevelt Instead I waited It didnt take long for the job hunters to come calling.The doorbell rang eight minutes ahead of schedule and I jumped This was the first interview Id been fluffing and re fluffing the couch pillows, adjusting my ponytail.When I opened the front door, a gust of gritty air came rushing at me and I felt its particulates dirtying my lungs A young woman stood on the welcome mat, smiling so wide I could see where her gums webbed into her mouth.Id expected her to be pretty, almost all young women in L.A are, especially those raised here, the beautys in the tap water, but she was plain looking, her wide, hazel eyes too far apart, her dark blond hair thin and flat.Esther I finally said.I knew she didnt go by her full name, but S felt so pretentious, as if shed rebranded herself at sleep away camp.Please, she said Call me S.I admired her assertiveness S it is then Come in.She was wearing a cheap floral print dress and leather sandals The dress was loose where it should have been fitted and it accentuated her wide hips As my mother might have said, the poor girl doesnt know how to dress her own body Know thy size and shape Being female is a lifelong lesson that starts with how to wipe front to back , and ends only with death, graceless always Clearly, this young woman hadnt been properly instructed.With another gummy smile she stepped into the house There was no hesitation.Sorry its so stuffy in here, I said The air conditioning isnt workingsomethings wrong with the ventilation system It needs to be completely rehabbed I keep hoping the heat will break, but it just gets hotter and hotter Im sure theres a wildfire or two in our future Maybe the whole city will just burst into flames That might be kind of fun, actually.I realized I was babbling and shut my mouth S still hadnt said any thing, she was too busy taking in the high beamed ceiling of the living room and the framed prints on the wall the antique circus poster, the black and white photograph of a Pizza Hut that my sister in law Kit had taken and given to me and Karl as a wedding gift I wondered if shed ask for it back.S walked closer to the photo and I recalled that she had graduated with a minor a minor in art In an email shed written that she loved the Pre Raphaelites.Was there traffic coming up the hill I said.Not too bad, she replied, not looking away from the photo And then, This is rad.When she finally turned back to me with her big, pretty eyes I said, Thank you, as if Id taken it.S looked so young standing there She was young, she couldnt have been older than twenty two I remembered myself at that age my pure, unlined face my brain dead roommates and our giant glass ashtray my potentialthat feeling I could apply to graduate school whenever I was ready and all would be solved Id been beautiful The past tense was like a shove to the chest.Did you study photography in any of your classes I asked Nah Mostly your standard paintings by Dead Guys.In the photograph a man leaned sullenly against the glass doors of the Pizza Hut Big clouds ballooned across the sky.S finally turned from the picture Beyond the ghost of gloss on her lips she wasnt wearing any makeup She hadnt even put on mascara for this interview.My mom calls it Pizza Slut, she said, and laughed.I laughed too, mostly out of confusion S didnt seem nervous enoughor at all Maybe she didnt really want the job.Shall we go into the kitchen to talk I asked We can discuss your qualifications.She nodded and smiled again Sure thing.Devins asleep, I said as I led her through the dining room In case youre wondering.I was, actually She widened her eyes, goofy What if youd lied about having a kid What if you were really a murderer Wasnt there a Craigslist killer This time I laughed for real Who was this girl Dont worry, I said Killers dont post for nannies They want personal assistants, and they would definitely ask to see a photo first.S looked down at herself So much for that, she said.I laughed again She was so easy with me, as if wed met dozens of times before Of course, Id never heard of her until she answered my ad, live in nanny wanted for bright and adorable toddler Hollywood hills adjacent , with a sweet email that ad vised me to please peruse the attached curriculum vitae Her mother must have ghostwritten that.Dev should wake in about fifteen minutes, I said.Id planned it this way I had to make sure S wasnt a weirdo before introducing her to my child But I knew shed be normal She was a recent Berkeley grad, for Gods sake, and had been raised right down the hill She may have dabbled in the Pre Raphaelites but her senior honors thesis was on early childhood education.We walked into the kitchen, which Karl and I had redone The sink was wide as a pigs trough and the chrome fridge hummed Milk shake, our old Maltese, lay in the corner, panting.He didnt come running when the bell rang S asked, bending down to pet him.Hes so old hes forgotten how to be a dog, I said Would you like some water, or maybe some iced tea I expected her to say no, but she took me up on the iced tea I watched as she drank it down in one long gulp.The AC in the Camrys busted, she said when the glass was empty, as if we were sharing the car She wiped her mouth with the back of her arm.Karl, who had moved out just a few weeks before, would have said that S lacked self awareness, but that wasnt it It wasnt a deficit S was comfortable with herself, with her average looks, her unflatter ing clothing, her interest in art Take it or leave it, she seemed to say I only wished I had that kind of confidence The bravado of someone younger, twenty years younger, cuts deep And yet, I didnt resent S In fact, I liked her.You said youre living with your mother I asked Staying, not living, she replied On the couch.All this time Id been imagining her mother in a condo in West wood Shed keep the treadmill in the guest room, next to a bed outfit ted with brocade shams, and, in the corner, a big bag of wrapping paper supplies But apparently there was no guest room.S held up her glass and gestured with her chin to the sink She wanted to wash it, I realized.Go for it, I said.Im looking to get my own place as soon as possible, she said, turning on the water Its why this position is ideal I also love the age Devin istwo, three years old is when a kids imagination really soars If you take language development into consideration, youreWhat did you say your thesis was on again I passed her a towel and we sat at the kitchens center island Her rsumher curriculum vitaewas printed out on the counter.Thesis is too strong a word, she said It was my senior project I wrote about the benefits of play for children aged eighteen months to four How they use it to make sense of the world and themselves, to test limits and face their fears Its incredible, really.I nodded This was the poised, studious S.Have you ever given Devin a big cardboard box to play with I put him in one when hes been bad, I said.She squinted at me Im kidding.Oh Ha Sorry Ive just read about stuff like that happening Between that and the Internet murdererswhat are you reading Mostly erotica.This time, I squinted.Kidding She smiled Anyway, if you give Devin a big empty cardboard box youd be amazed by the things he comes up with In two minutes itll be a car, or a spaceship.Or a coffin.Are you sure youre a mother she said Maybe, maybe not I winked Follow me.On the back deck, the sun was so strong I closed my eyes Even my lids were perspiring A bead of sweat slid between my breasts The sounds of wood sanders, buzz saws, and jackhammers rang out across the hill Someone was always knocking down something old to build something new.I opened my eyes and led S down the deck stairs.Devin still sleeps for over two hours every afternoon, thank goodness, I was explaining And when he wakes up I try to get him to use the potty, even though he usually refuses.S was looking at the pool, glittering in the sunlight and circled with a border of Astroturf Karls ideathe drought and all that Behind it towered a steep wall of canyon landscaped with chaparral and sage scrub A line of houses looked down on us from above one dilapidated shack, a couple of tasteful mansions, and a modern thing, all concrete, like a parking garage Karl called these houses the Eavesdroppers.I didnt mention the pool in the ad Freeloaders need not apply Exactly I also didnt mention that Im separated from Devins dad.S nodded.And I turned around and pointed at Seths window on the second floor I have another son, from a previous relationship Hes eighteen Seth Thats his room.It had only taken me twenty minutes to come clean Seth was holed up in his room, and Devin was asleep in his new big boy bed, and I was a soon to be divorcee like so many other women in the neighbor hood That my sons were fathered by two different men, almost two decades apart, made me slightly interesting That was my theory anyway Before this interview, I thought my situation might impress or intimidate a young woman who wanted a job in childcare At the very least, it might give me an excuse to offer her less money But it all seemed so silly now S couldnt be ruffled.Hes nonverbal, I said finally Who Seth He doesnt speak, never has Has heIs he autistic No Is that what you were going to ask Hes also not deaf I lowered my voice And he isnt a genius either.This was what I always said to people My script My shtick It made it easier.No, she said I was going to ask if hed ever done speech therapy Ive read about children with language disabilities.Shed read about them He was treated by quite a few doctors when he was younger, I said.We were steps from the pool and I imagined pushing S into the deep end Her horrible dress would bunch around her waist and Id see her blurry cream cheese white thighs I was diligent about cleaning the pool every morning, for myself and for the Eavesdroppers, and so thered be no plant debris or floating bees to wreck my view of a sub merged S She most definitely wore sensible underwear.Instead I said, I couldnt send him to speech therapy because he couldnt speak.Im so sorry I didnt mean to offend you, she said For a second Id shaken her up But if she was worried that the interview had gone south, she didnt show it She seemed concerned only for my feelings.I smiled at her and put a hand on her arm Just a nudge and shed be in the pool Its totally fine, I said I cocked my ear I think Devins awake.As we headed into the house, I wondered whether she was still thinking about Seth People were always curious about him Eager, even, as though he were a rare animal you could pet.I thought of the Hottentot Venus Seth and I had read about her sold into slavery over two centuries earlier and made into an attraction, to be ogled and inspected, laughed and gasped at It was no doubt what the Man in the Yellow Hat had initially planned to do with Curious George lock him up, make money off of him That was Devins herothe man, not the monkey Just the other day, Seth had typed to me on his iPad Doesnt he know the guys an animal poacher I told him to give Devin a break, he wasnt even three yet.For his final high school paper, Seth had written about the Hottentot Venus Ive forgotten her real name, though Im sure Seth re members it.Mommy Mommy Devin yelled from his room Hed say it until I came to rescue him.He was sitting up in his little toddler bed when we got to his room, and when he saw we had a visitor he grinned and then covered his face with Bucky, his stuffed rabbit.Did you sleep well, baby I asked.I took his hand and helped him out of bed S was already kneeling down to his level.After Id introduced them, I stepped back Devin didnt care where I was he wanted to show S his truck collection I watched from the doorway as they pushed them back and forth across the rug, talking about the colors, both of them making engine noises with their mouths When Devin moved to sit on her lap, S didnt make note of it, as another adult might She taught him a song about fish, and together they sang it, my sons big blue eyes widening with delight His cheeks were still pillow creased from his nap, and his hair, knot ted and sweaty, stuck up in tufts Placed thusly in this nanny tableau, Devin looked perfect.He was perfect A billion traumas would be upon him someday But not yet And if they didnt come to him, hed seek them out We all dolook for pain I mean Until then, my baby was a beloved fool, not a mark on him.Then Devin did the unthinkable He looked up at S and said, I need water.I gasped, I couldnt help it.S looked up at me, puzzled.The prince usually doesnt let anyone else but me wait on him S bowed her head to Devin Id be honored to be your servant Uh oh, I told her, now youre in trouble Hes very literal Please Devin said Please I hired her Someone else, someone like Karl, would have checked Ss references first, but the thought only flitted across my brain before I dismissed it Devin had chosen this girl, in his way, and I liked her too I could fictionalize a background check for Karl If I said, I had a good feeling about her, hed insist on vetting S himself, and that would take forever.She would move into the Cottage the following Monday Shed work four days and one evening a week.When I handed her the key, she hugged me and Devin, who was slung on my hip S really came in for a squeeze, and as she pulled away, a sharp hint of body odor, metallic and musky, took root in my nos trils I wanted to remember it.As soon as S had driven away in the Camry, Devin and I went upstairs to find Seth I knocked on his door twice, and then, together, Devin and I counted slowly to ten Only after that did I turn the knob Id done this ever since Seth was thirteen and Id accidentally walked in on him naked.Seth He was sitting at his computer wearing only swim trunks and a Lakers jersey The room, as usual, smelled dank Today Seth had lugged the fan from my bedroom so that he had two going, their heads rotating back and forth like land surveyors He sat between them and every few seconds his hair lifted in the breeze He was playing a video game I hated the video games, but Karl had argued on their behalf, saying I shouldnt be suspicious of new forms of storytelling As if a stupid New York Times article could possibly justify the Fallout mara thons he and Seth played, but Id let it go Before Karl moved out, Seth and I referred to him as College Boy, because he dropped big words in his emails and referenced articles from the Times Literary Supplement to bank tellers, and got up before sunrise the day the Booker Prize nominees were announced, even though he wasnt British or a writer He was a television producer.Seth glanced up and I smiled for once he wasnt rolling his eyes He hadnt cut me any slack since Karl had moved out.Hows it going I asked.Seth looked and like Marco as he got older black hair, olive skin, long eyelashes Swarthy as a swashbuckler He hadnt been a cute kid hed been too skinny, too haunted seeming, his nose too big and adult for his face But he was growing into his looks Karl had joked that, pretty soon, women would start lining up The strong, silent type, hed quipped.Seth paused his game and gave Devin a high five To some strangers, Seths silence was awkward and difficult to handle, a barrier they couldnt surmount But if you knew him, Seth was just Seth To Devin, Seth was his amazing big brother.Seff Seff Devin yelled Inside voice, baby.Seff I have a new friend.The nanny came, I said S Shes moving in Monday, so you need to vacuum the Cottage for her You promised.I waited for Seth to grab his iPad and type out a message It had taken years for me to expect, to demand, some response, even if it was merely a shake of his head I hated waiting and waiting and getting nothing from him.Seth, I said again.This time, he nodded at the computer screen On it, an image of a castle, shot from above, was cloaked in mist For all I knew, it was sup posed to be from a dragons perspective.Only one hour, I said I mean it And no snarky tweets about the gazpacho I made, okay Every day I checked his account, sethconscious His tweets were clever and wise, and the GazpachoFail series had been retweeted two dozen times at least I just looked at his feed, I didnt have my own ac count Seth said I couldnt, and Karl said it was like dancing at a wed ding If you really want to, go ahead, hed said, but youll regret those moves the next morning.Now, Seth made one of our old signs You got it, Ninja Mama. Thanks, Burrito Flower, I signed Love times a million, he signed What him doing Devin asked.Seths playing video games You know thats for bigger kids, right Devin shook his head violently With his hands What him doing Seth grinned He held his two hands in a prayer position and then clapped the lower halves together three times That was our sign for Mambo time, which meant, basically Youre busted Its just something Seth and I do, I explained Devin had learned a little ASL, but none of the special signs Instead of talking You know that.Devin sucked on a finger contemplatively and Seth crossed his eyes until his brother laughed.Come on, Devy Dev, I said, hitching him higher onto my waist Lets go draw a picture for S Isnt she the best Named one of the Best Books of 2017 by Boston Globe Washington Post San Francisco Chronicle New York Observer Huffington Post The Millions Nylon Vulture Bustle Praise for Woman No 17 Woman No 17 is propulsive and moving, and considers vital questions with empathy and sly intelligence A winning novel New York Times Book ReviewA story packed with such wicked and wickedly funny confessions about a host of hallowed subjects Woman No 17 tastes like a juice box of suburban satire laced with Alfred Hitchcock Lepuckis witty lines arrive as dependably as afternoon playtime, but her reflection on motherhood and womens friendships is deadly seriousThe disclosures that Lepucki engineers in this smart novel are sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious, always irresistible Ron Charles, Washington PostLepuckis exploration of personal relationships takes on an increasingly noirish tone Much like Chekhovs gun, a swimming pool introduced early in the book takes on the shadows of a floating body long before the reader realizes this might be a possibility ElleEdan Lepucki s Woman No 17 is part family melodrama, part twisty self reflection very funny GQWhile Woman No 17 does possess all the trappings of a frothy page turner stormy arguments, showy melodrama, and oops an affair, there are some quiet, serious moments, too Its the intersection between the two that makes this read both scintillating and thought provoking San Francisco ChronicleA sexy family drama featuring dual protagonists as well as sex, art, mothers and mutism Los Angeles Daily NewsFollowing the success of her debut novel, California, author Edan Lepucki returns with a dark and clever tale about motherhood and the complexity of friendships SFWeekly Woman No 17 reads like a Hollywood Hills film noir the dialogue is sharp, the fragrance of the wilting air palpable Seattle TimesWith Woman No 17, Lepucki has succeeded in revealing a simple truth mothers are humanflawed and difficult and impossible to hold at arms length PasteFemale friendships, artists, twisted secrets, motherhood, and the posh and drama filled hills of Los Angeles if that doesn t sound like a novel your mom will literally gobble up in a day or two, we give up This risqu and mesmerizing read by New York Timesbestselling author Edan Lepucki will make your mom race through the addictive pages of Woman No 17in no time and we wouldn t be surprised if she rereads it again and again PopSugarTensions are expertly spun by Edan Lepucki through the heat of the end of summer in LA Woman No 17starts and finishes in the here and now, and shows up the fragility of the facade of civilization that we all in the Western world, be it in American or Europe, like to think we hold up Electric Literature Woman No 17 offers not only a propulsive plot but also important reflections on artistic creation, the lingering effects of bad mothers on their adult children, and the thorny question of how friends and family relate to their loved ones with disabilities Bookreporter.comBoth fun to read and asks serious questions about identity, art and motherhood BerkleysideEdan Lepuckis second novel an exceptional offeringa sleek, perspective shifting tale driven by the complexities of relationship dynamics, the notion of identity and the importance absurdity of modern art and its impacta taut tightrope walk of a novel Maine Edge A Hollywood noir about the electric bonds between women this one is a safe bet for beach season The Week Woman No 17 is a novel about motherhood, an impossible game to winThe parallel stories of Lady and S speeding toward disaster keep the pages turning, but the primary pleasure of Woman No 17 comes from Lepuckis wit This novel, coming on the heels of the dystopian California, suggests that Lepucki is an author with a diverse palate and talent to burn Chapter16.orgLepuckis brisk style and arresting characterizations make for a compelling portrait of womanhood in the present moment, right down to its intriguing integration of social media Publishers Weekly An acidly inquisitive domestic drama set in the Hollywood Hills and anchored to depthless questions of identity, family, and art Lepuckis arch and provocative tale of elaborate and privileged dysfunction poses sharp questions about inheritance, self expression, and love Booklist Always enjoyablethis novel succeeds by staying light on its feet Kirkus ReviewsIn Woman No 17, Lepucki has crafted an intricate, gripping story of people behaving very badly You will want to race to the end to see what happens, but dont cheat yourself This book deserves to be savored gorgeously written, darkly comic, smart and thrilling.CYNTHIA DAPRIX SWEENEY, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest Woman No 17 fizzes with references to contemporary culture and sparks with larger, timeless questions Where is the line between performance and identity What separates life from art And can we ever escape the gravitational pull of our parents Edan Lepucki shows herself to be a sharp eyed chronicler of our modern world CELESTE NG, New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You Woman No 17 is a provocative and timely meditation on art, authenticity and representation in a digital age The increasingly gripping plot suggests the outcomes of a thriller, but at the crucial moment the novel swerves toward subtly profound truths about our capacity for self sabotage and self reinvention, the power of trauma to shape lives, and the inexorablegravity of family secrets Lepuckis smooth prose and deft handling of point of view reveal a writer fully in command MATTHEW THOMAS, New York Times bestselling authorof We Are Not OurselvesTaut as a thriller with plenty of sex and secrets , Woman No 17 raises big questions about identity, art, ethics, parenthood, and In Edan Lepucki s hands, the philosophical is transformed into a page turner I don t know how she does it RUMAAN ALAM, author of Rich PrettySelected Praise for California New York Times BestsellerNPR best book of 2014 Los Angeles Times Bestseller San Francisco Chronicle BestsellerIndiebound BestsellerBarnes Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, 2014 Rewarding One of 30 books you NEED to read in 2014 Huffington Post Edan Lepucki s first novel comes steeped in Southern California literary tradition.One thinks of Steve Erickson or Cynthia Kadohata, or Carolyn See, whose 1987 novel Golden Days ends with the nuclear holocaust David L Ulin, Los Angeles Times Lepucki s debut is an inventive take on the post apocalyptic novel, about a couple who moves from an isolated existence in the wilderness to a guarded community that, they soon realize, harbors terrifying secrets and unforseen dangers Laura Pearson, Time Out Chicago In her arresting debut novel, Edan Lepucki conjures a lush, intricate, deeply disturbing vision of the future, then masterfully exploits its dramatic possibilities Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad An ambitious, powerful, frightening first novel California shows the moment by moment reality of a painful possible future, the price we may have to pay for our passionate devotion to all the wrong things Sarah Stone, San Francisco Chronicle Lepucki gives readers the most welcome surprise in a dystopian novel, anyway of flashes of humor Many of her witty touches make reference to the familiar details of life in 2014, and what happens to them in the future Cleveland Plain Dealer An expansive, full bodied and masterful narrative of humans caught in the most extreme situations, with all of our virtues and failings on full display courage, cowardice, trust, betrayal, honor and expedience The final eighty pages of this book gripped me as much as any fictional denouement I ve encountered in recent years.I firmly believe that Edan Lepucki is on the cusp of a long, strong career in American letters Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn s Long Halftime Walk Edan Lepucki is the very best kind of writer simultaneously generous and precise I am long been an admirer of her prose, but this book this book, this massive, brilliant book is a four alarm fire, the ambitious and rich introduction that a writer of her caliber deserves I can t wait for the world to know what I have known for so many years, that Edan Lepucki is the real thing, and that we will all be bowing at her feet before long Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of The Vacationers and Modern Lovers It s tempting to call this novel post apocalyptic, but really, it s about an apocalypse in progress, an apocalypse that might already be happening, one that doesn t so much break life into before and after as unravel it bit by bit Edan Lepucki tells her tale with preternatural clarity and total believability, in large part by focusing on the relationships between husband and wife, brother and sister, parent and child that are, it turns out, apocalypse proof Post nothing California is timeless Robin Sloan, author of Mr Penumbra s 24 Hour Bookstore California is a wonder a big, gripping and inventive story built on quiet, precise human moments Edan Lepucki s eerie near future is vividly and persuasively imagined She is a fierce new presence in American fiction Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia Breathtakingly original, fearless and inventive, pitch perfect in its portrayal of the intimacies and tiny betrayals of marriage, so utterly gripping it demands to be read in one sitting Edan Lepucki s California is the novel you have been waiting for, the novel that perfectly captures the hopes and anxieties of contemporary America This is a novel that resonates on every level, a novel that stays with you for a lifetime Read it now Joanna Rakoff, author of A Fortunate Age and My Salinger Year California is carefully drawn and beautifully textured It s a pleasure to watch love and family transform in this dark, strange forest Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty Wonder Woman BD Blu ray Wonder Charles Roven, Rebecca Steel Stephen Jones, Zack Snyder, Deborah Wesley Coller, Richard Suckle, Geoff Johns, Patty YOUNG MAN FUCKS WOMAN Free mom son mother boy fucking online A young man fucks a mature woman Mokkels De grootste bekende en lekkere 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