At once darkly comic and moving, this witty exploration of female friendship, envy, and misguided ambition by the author of the number-one bestseller Drowning Ruth, deliciously satirizes the desire to shine in the world.
In All is Vanity, Margaret and Letty, best friends since childhood and now living on opposite coasts, reach their mid-thirties and begin to chafe at their sense that they are not where they ought to be in life. Margaret, driven and overconfident, decides the best way to rectify this is to quit her job and whip out a literary tour de force. Frustrated almost immediately and humiliated at every turn, Margaret turns to Letty for support. But as Letty, a stay-at-home mother of four, begins to feel pressured to make a good showing in the upper-middle-class Los Angeles society into which her husbands new job has thrust her, Margaret sees a plot unfolding thats better than anything she could make up. Desperate to finish her book and against her better nature, she pushes Letty to take greater and greater risks, and secretly steals her friends stories as fast as she can live them. Hungry for the worlds regard, Margaret rashly sacrifices one of the things most precious to her, until the novels suspenseful conclusion shows her the terrible consequences of her betrayal.
Widely celebrated for her debut novel, Drowning Ruth, Christina Schwarz once again proves herself to be a writer of remarkable depth and range. Like Drowning Ruth, All is Vanity probes into the mysteries of the human heart and uncovers the passions that drive ordinary people to break the rules in pursuit of their own desires.
As funny as it is cruel, the novel sweeps you along on its fast-track slide to hell. While some readers may cavil at a morality play without redemption, others will respect the no-exit spin on ambition and greed.
Booklist - Gillian Engberg
....a wickedly funny satire filled with spot-on details. Margaret's egotism and Letty's frenzied social climbing will leave readers squirming with recognition, as will the 20/20 view of the crowd who lunches on squid ink spaghettini.
Library Journal - Barbara Hoffert
After the painful clarity of her debut, Drowning Ruth, Schwarz tries something completely different and it works.....Poisonous good fun and a little heart-breaking, too; for all public libraries.
After her compassionate and hugely successful debut (Drowning Ruth, 2000), Schwarz returns with something completely different: A mean-spirited account of how a would-be novelist who can’t write brings down her best friend, a domestic social striver with dreams beyond her means..... Brave in its unforgiving nastiness, if not exactly amusing...
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Whitney Fantastic! I love Christina Schwartz. I first read Drowning Ruth, which was amazing and made me want to read everything the author had written. I was ecstatic when I found this at the library. I felt the begin was a little slow, but picked up about 50pgs... Read More
Rated of 5
WOW!!!! I just discovered CS she's sooooooooo great!!!
You need to read this book!
Rated of 5
by joan tennant
A sparkling, witty and thought-provoking novel. A triumph.
Rated of 5
by william mccann
'oh how sweet it is to think we have more than we do have or do we'
In her funny and moving new novel Smiley brings her extraordinary gifts, comic timing, empathy and emotional wisdom, to the seductive, wishful, wistful world of real estate, in which the sport of choice is the mind game.
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