Careers for Women by Joanna Scott
A Novel

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The large cast of characters is sharply drawn, but no one gets enough sustained attention to command our emotional engagement; a number of collective scenes voiced by people we never meet again, from aluminum plant workers to World Trade Center protestors, reinforces the sense that this book needed to be longer to work out its potential.
-Kirkus

Synopsis


New York in the late 1950s. A city, and a world, on the cusp of change...

Maggie Gleason is looking toward the future. Part of a midcentury wave of young women seeking new lives in New York City, Maggie works for legendary Port Authority public relations maven Lee K. Jaffe--affectionately known to her loyal staff as Mrs. J. Having left Cleveland, Maggie has come to believe that she can write any story for herself that she imagines.

Pauline Moreau is running from the past--and a shameful secret. She arrives in the city on the brink of despair, saddled with a young daughter who needs more love, attention, and resources than Pauline can ever hope to provide. Seeing that Pauline needs a helping hand, Mrs. J tasks Maggie with befriending, and looking after, Pauline.

As the old New York gives way to the new, and Mrs. J's dream of the world's largest skyscraper begins to rise from the streets of lower Manhattan, Pauline--with the aid of Maggie and Mrs. J--also remakes herself. But when she reignites the scandal that drove her to New York, none of their lives will ever be the same. Maggie must question everything she thought she knew about love, work, ambition, and family to discover the truth about the enigmatic, strong woman she thought she had rescued.

Careers for Women is a masterful novel about the difficulties of building a career, a dream, or a life--and about the powerful small mercies of friendship and compassion.

 

About Joanna Scott

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Joanna Scott is the author of nine books, including The Manikin, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Various Antidotes and Arrogance, which were both finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; and the critically acclaimed Make Believe, Tourmaline, and Liberation. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and a Lannan Award, she lives with her family in upstate New York.
 
Published July 25, 2017 by Little, Brown and Company. 305 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Careers for Women
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on May 02 2017

The large cast of characters is sharply drawn, but no one gets enough sustained attention to command our emotional engagement; a number of collective scenes voiced by people we never meet again, from aluminum plant workers to World Trade Center protestors, reinforces the sense that this book needed to be longer to work out its potential.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Alice Gregory on Sep 04 2017

Scott’s prose can be subtle to the point of invisible — a reader won’t gasp at recognition or smile at very many unexpected similes. Her intelligence is more structural, more architectural even...

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