From Anna Quindlen, acclaimed author of Blessings,
Black and Blue, and One True Thing, a superb
novel about two sisters, the true meaning of success,
and the qualities in life that matter most.
It's an otherwise ordinary Monday when Meghan Fitzmaurice's perfect life hits a wall. A household name as the host of Rise and Shine, the country's highest-rated morning talk show, Meghan cuts to a commercial breakbut not before she mutters two forbidden words into her open mike.
In an instant, it's the end of an era, not only for Meghan, who is unaccustomed to dealing with adversity, but also for her younger sister, Bridget, a social worker in the Bronx who has always lived in Meghan's long shadow. The effect of Meghan's on-air truth telling reverberates through both their lives, affecting Meghan's son, husband, friends, and fans, as well as Bridget's perception of her sister, their complex childhood, and herself. What follows is a story about how, in very different ways, the Fitzmaurice women adapt, survive, and manage to bring the whole teeming world of New York to heel by dint of their smart mouths, quick wits, and the powerful connection between them that even the worst tragedy cannot shatter.
From time to time some stranger will ask me how I can bear to live in New
York City. Sometimes it happens when I am on vacation, passing the time in a
buffet line filled with the sunburned and the semidrunk. Sometimes it comes up
at a professional conference, drinking coffee in the corner of a hotel meeting
room with a clutch of social workers, most of them wearing the dirndl skirts and
dangling earrings of the socially conscious woman of a certain age. My aunt's
friends will ask, although they live only a half hour north, up the Saw Mill
Parkway, but in a state of bucolic isolation that might as well be Maine.
Even in New York itself I will sometimes hear the question, from the ld men on the Coney Island boardwalk who knew Irving Lefkowitz when he was a bar mitzvah boy and who, from their benches on the Brooklyn beach, envision the long and slender island of Manhattan as an urban Titanic, sinking beneath the weight of criminals, homosexuals, and atheists, ...
Strong on characterization but weaker on plot, Rise and Shine is a tale of two sisters and one city. A fun, mildly contrived, satirical New York tale, with a family drama at its heart.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (899 words).
Q: In dreaming up this
novel, what came to you first: the sisters, the setting,
or Megan's on-air slip? And how did your storyline
evolve from there?
Anna Quindlen: I always begin a novel with a theme. Black and Blue, for instance, began with the theme of identity, Blessings with the theme of redemption. Rise and Shine grew out of constant thoughts about the disconnect in modern American life between appearance and reality. The more I thought about that disconnect, about how we've all come to believe that what looks good is good, the more I thought I should write about someone famous. That's where the dissonance is greatest, it...
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