Three Stages of Amazement Summary and Reviews

Three Stages of Amazement

A Novel

by Carol Edgarian

Three Stages of Amazement by Carol Edgarian
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2011
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Many love stories end in marriage; rare is the love story that begins with one - already promised, already worn.  Set in San Francisco during the first year of Obama's presidency, Three Stages of Amazement deftly charts the struggles and triumphs of Lena Rusch and her husband Charlie Pepper, who still believe they can have it all - sex, love, marriage, children, career, brilliance. But life delivers surprises and tests - a stillborn child, an economic crash, a ruthless business rival and the attentions of an old lover. Touched by tragedy and by ordinary hopes unmet, Lena and Charlie must face, for the first time in their lives, real limitation.

Fifteen years after her stunning debut, Rise the Euphrates, Carol Edgarian has created a panoramic and deeply moving story about business and family and the demands of love in our time. She takes readers on a spellbinding journey inside America today, with an unforgettable cast of characters including Cal Rusch, Lena's uncle, a Silicon Valley titan, and Ivy, his socialite wife, who engender complication in the lives of all the people they touch: their grown children, business partners, friends, the servants and workers upon whom the glamorous life depends - and Lena, whose quest for grace is the pulse of this gorgeous novel.

As Lena and Charlie, Ivy and Cal, face the temptations of their youth and the fantasy of the redo, they discover that real life is the ultimate challenge. Told with eloquence and compassion, Three Stages of Amazement is a true thriller of the heart, a riveting story about confronting adversity, gaining wisdom, and finding great love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] story with characters of great depth and complexity, but it is her crystalline writing and the unique narrative tone that elevates this the most." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. [Edgarian] spares no emotion in this big, lovely second novel about decent people falling apart." - Library Journal

"Theatrical hokum, but written with an assurance and energy that will appeal to readers looking for comfort and romantic role models during this difficult era." - Kirkus Reviews

"Love, family, marriage, illness and money - this is a life story and a love story for our era, beautifully observed, sharply etched by a master storyteller." - Amy Bloom, author of Away and Where the God of Love Hangs Out

"It's a great heart in a great author who loves the villains in a story while fully imbuing the heroes with human flaws and hungers…Seldom have such true portraits of our era, or any era, appeared." - Rick Bass, author of Where the Sea Used to Be and Why I Came West

"In this gorgeously written, haunting and often hilarious novel, Carol Edgarian conjures a particular moment in America's recent history and unleashes within it a collision of universal forces: love, desire, ambition, loyalty. I can't think of a book that more viscerally evokes the gritty challenge - and casual heroism - of motherhood and marriage." - Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

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More Information

Carol Edgarian is author of the novels Three Stages of Amazement and the best-selling Rise the Euphrates, winner of the ANC Freedom Award. Her articles and essays have appeared in many national magazines, and she co-edited the popular collection drawn from great writers' diaries, The Writer's Life: Intimate Thoughts on Work, Love, Inspiration, and Fame. She is co-founder, editor and publisher of the non-profit magazine Narrative and co-founder of Narrative in the Schools, a program to encourage reading and writing in schools across America. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Tom Jenks, and their three daughters.

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