At once darkly comic and moving, this witty exploration of female friendship, envy, and misguided ambition deliciously satirizes the desire to shine in the world.
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.
I WAS A PROMISING CHILD. When I was seven, I spent an entire week hunkered down on the cranberry red carpeting in my father's study, building a scale model of the Temple of Athena at Paestum. I carved the columns out of Ivory soap with a paring knife and pushed red clay through my Play-Doh press to tile over the Styrofoam roof. I painted a frieze, which was cheating and ultimately unsatisfactory, since it was not authentically three-dimensional. My father wondered why not the Parthenon, but I wasn't interested in the obvious.
"Everyone knows the Parthenon, Dad," I said, in a superior tone, although, in fact, I knew no one other than he who was at all acquainted with the Greeks.
Three months after I'd finished my temple, my little brother, Warren, was parking his Hot Wheels in it.
When I was eight, I sewed two chamois I swiped from the garage into a little dress in the style of the Lakota Sioux. You'd think this would be less ambitious ...
If you liked All Is Vanity, try these:
'Hollinghurst writes harsh but deeply informed social satire from within, just as Proust did. He writes the best prose we have today'. Winner of the 2004 Booker Prize.
A provocative, wonderfully entertaining ridean irreverent, clear-eyed view of the way we live now.
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