The Adults by Alison Espach
A Novel

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Synopsis

In her ruefully funny and wickedly perceptive debut novel, Alison Espach deftly dissects matters of the heart and captures the lives of children and adults as they come to terms with life, death, and love.
At the center of this affluent suburban universe is Emily Vidal, a smart and snarky teenager, who gets involved in a suspect relationship with one of the adults after witnessing a suicide in her neighborhood.  Among the cast of unforgettable characters is Emily’s father, whose fiftieth birthday party has the adults descending upon the Vidal’s patio; her mother, who has orchestrated the elaborate party even though she and her husband are getting a divorce; and an assortment of eccentric neighbors, high school teachers, and teenagers who teem with anxiety and sexuality and an unbridled desire to be noticed, and ultimately loved.

An irresistible chronicle of a modern young woman’s struggle to grow up, The Adults lays bare—in perfect pitch—a world where an adult and a child can so dangerously be mistaken for the same exact thing.
 

About Alison Espach

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Alison Espach is a graduate of the Washington University in St. Louis MFA program.  Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Five Chapters, Glamour and other magazines. She grew up in Connecticut and now teaches creative writing in New York.
 
Published February 1, 2011 by Scribner. 338 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Adults

Kirkus Reviews

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Emily's parents divorce, her father follows his work to Prague and Emily is left with her detached mother and an overweening conception of her own maturity.

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The New York Times

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(Although Victor does occasionally urinate on them.) In a way, the Vidal family is itself rather like a patch of tiger lilies: seemingly vibrant and successful, even though no one — not Emily, not her father, not her mother — cares much about nourishing the soil in which they grow.

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

The New York Times

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She is amazed, thinking of her mother, at “how I was inside the school about to have sex with a man nearly twice my age and she was drumming her nails on the dashboard wondering if we should have asparagus for dinner.” “The Adults” follows Emily until she is older than Mr. Basketball was...

Feb 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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In Espach's charming coming-of-age debut, 14-year-old Emily Vidal's life begins to veer off course at her father's 50th birthday party when he announces that he and her mother are divorcing.

Dec 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

Examiner

The Adults, Alison Espach’s remarkable debut novel, begins with the “Black Tie Preferred” Fairfield, Connecticut party celebrating Emily Vidal’s father’s fiftieth birthday and ends with her father’s death and funeral reception.

Sep 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

The Washington Post

That unhappy man's son is Emily's best friend and romantic interest - and Emily's father is inconveniently having an affair with the neighbor's wife.

Mar 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

San Francisco Chronicle

Defending a lame conversational ploy, Emily's father confides: " 'Adults need things like that.' " When mothers collect litter at the beach, Emily clucks: "Those poor adults.

Mar 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

St. Louis Today

Kennedy Forest is an enchanting place in any season, but it is at its best on an early morning after an overnight snowfall.

Mar 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

But through small moments and brief encounters, Espach expertly portrays the vast complexities of all her characters, making them loveable even when they’re not especially likable. This is an honest and brutally funny novel about choices and mistakes, acceptance and forgiveness, about th...

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

Fiction Writers Review

Each week we give away several free copies of a featured novel or story collection as part of our Book-of-the-Week program.

Feb 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

Straight.com

When we first meet Emily Vidal, as a 14-year-old skulking around the snack table at her father’s 50th birthday party, she already sees herself as a fully formed adult: cynical, bitingly witty, and, most of all, a perfect judge of character (mostly character flaws).

Mar 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Adults: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Adults
71%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 137 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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