FICTION

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Little, Brown. Aug. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780316204279. $25.99. F
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What does a genius architect do when the neighbor with whom she's been feuding destroys her greatest work of art? In Semple's second novel (after This One is Mine) she moves from the scene of the crime (Los Angeles) to a city where she's less likely to get into trouble (Seattle). Bernadette, the genius architect, is married to Elgin, also a genius, who has taken a job at Microsoft. Unfortunately, Bernadette manages to get involved in some serious neighbor drama in her new city—even though she barely leaves her house. Owing to the madness in LA, Bernadette has lost her creative drive, which has been replaced with an insanity that affects everyone around her, including her teenaged daughter, Bee. Eventually, Bernadette flees Seattle with the help of an unlikely ally. Then it is up to the ones who love her the most to answer the question the title poses.
VERDICT Interestingly written in the form of emails, memos, and articles with very little narrative prose, this fun read is filled with quirky characters and eccentric circumstances. With elements similar to an Anne Tyler novel or a Wes Anderson film, this is sure to be a hit with readers who appreciate offbeat characters and an original story. [See Prepub Alert, 2/12/12.]

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