Carousel Court by Joe McGinniss Jr.
A Novel

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The writing is taut and swift, with spare, propulsive sentences in short chapters — 97 of them in 350 pages (with whole pages devoted to rapid-fire, soul-sucking text exchanges...despite the relief available in not reading this book, it’s very hard to look away.
-LA Times

Synopsis

A fast, frightening, and thrillingly contemporary novel about marriage and money that early reviewers are calling “powerful” (Booklist, starred review), “propulsive” (Publishers Weekly), “totally addictive” (Bookish), and “a novel of unrelenting tension” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

Here is one of the most engrossing, unnerving, and exhilarating novels in recent memory. It comes to us from Joe McGinniss Jr., whose first book, The Delivery Man, was a national bestseller that critics hailed as “searing” (The New York Times Book Review), “compelling” (The Washington Post), and “reminiscent of Joan Didion” (Janet Fitch). Now, after spending the better part of a decade at work, McGinniss returns with another viscerally absorbing look at the seductive—and destructive—cutting edge of modern life, this time through the lens of marriage.

Carousel Court is the story of Nick and Phoebe Maguire, a young couple who move cross-country to Southern California in search of a fresh start for themselves and their infant son following a trauma. But they arrive at the worst possible economic time. Instead of landing in a beachside property, Nick and Phoebe find themselves cemented into the dark heart of foreclosure alley, surrounded by neighbors being drowned by their underwater homes who set fire to their belongings, flee in the dead of night, and eye one another with suspicion while keeping shotguns by their beds. Trapped, broke, and increasingly desperate, Nick and Phoebe each devise their own plan to claw their way back into the middle class and beyond. Hatched under one roof, their two separate, secret agendas will inevitably collide.

Combining the excruciating honesty of Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road with the social urgency of George Packer’s The Unwinding, Carousel Court is a blistering and unforgettable vision of contemporary life. It has the ambition of our most serious literary work and the soul of a thriller, managing to be simultaneously sexy, scary, and powerfully moving. Most of all, it offers an unflinching portrait of modern marriage in a nation scarred by vanished jobs, abandoned homes, psychotropic cure-alls, infidelity via iPhone, and ruthless choices. No matter what kind of relationship you are in, it will leave you simultaneously gutted and grateful for your own good fortune—if perhaps curious what your partner is really up to on that electronic device across the living room.
 

About Joe McGinniss Jr.

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Joe McGinniss Jr. is the author of Carousel Court and The Delivery Man. He lives in Washington, DC, with his family.
 
Published August 2, 2016 by Simon & Schuster. 368 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Carousel Court
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 18 2016

McGinniss covers familiar territory in the marketplace and marriage but injects it with an urgency, a sense of constant, inescapable threat that all adds up to a taut page-turner.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Steph Cha on Aug 05 2016

The writing is taut and swift, with spare, propulsive sentences in short chapters — 97 of them in 350 pages (with whole pages devoted to rapid-fire, soul-sucking text exchanges...despite the relief available in not reading this book, it’s very hard to look away.

Read Full Review of Carousel Court: A Novel | See more reviews from LA Times
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