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Suzanne Berne

Forfatter af A Crime in the Neighborhood

7 Works 1,279 Members 58 Reviews

Om forfatteren

Suzanne Berne teaches in Harvard University's English department.

Includes the name: Berne Suzanne

Værker af Suzanne Berne

A Crime in the Neighborhood (1997) — Forfatter — 554 eksemplarer
The Ghost at the Table (2006) — Forfatter — 370 eksemplarer
A Perfect Arrangement (2001) — Forfatter — 184 eksemplarer
The Dogs of Littlefield (2013) 121 eksemplarer
The Blue Window: A Novel (2023) 18 eksemplarer
El fantasma en la mesa (2008) 1 eksemplar

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Eat Pray Love opened the door to the #whitewomenwoes genre that should be firmly shut unless you can turn it into as poetic and universal an experience as something Edith Wharton or Carson McCullers would write.

Ennui is not easy to empathize with when the sufferers can cure the disease instantly by getting beyond their self-absorbed, insular, fake fears upper middle class to lower rich class lives.

I, silly me, expected the book to involve dogs. Instead, the dogs are just a gimmick to further reflect the misery of people who have too much money, too many possessions, too many prestigious finance jobs, and too many years of being around only people just like each other.… (mere)
stickersthatmatter | 8 andre anmeldelser | May 29, 2023 |
This novel looks deeply at motherhood, one very neglectful mother traumatized during the Holocaust, and her daughter, a helicopter mom to her deeply unhappy son. In both marriages, the fathers fade into the background, which has major impact on the children. Marika, the grandmother, abandoned her son and daughter with no explanation, after a marriage of convenience rescued her from refugee status. Lorna, the daughter, has no contact with Marika until a mysterious postcard arrives from Vermont after years and after her brother has died of AIDS. Marika comes to Thanksgiving dinner but has no contact with Lorna, her husband, or their son Adam in between holidays. When Adam has an embarrassing crisis at college, Lorna brings him to Marika's home in Vermont, where many secrets are revealed. This entire novel rests on the shoulders of unlikable characters, making it, for me, an unlikable novel.… (mere)
froxgirl | 1 anden anmeldelse | Feb 8, 2023 |
The Blue Window Suzanne Berne is a highly recommended generational family drama about secrets.

Lorna, a psychotherapist, has a 19 year-old son, Adam and is divorced. She has always had a complicated relationship with her mother, Marika. Marika was a survivor of the Nazi occupation of Holland who also abandoned her family when Lorna was seven and her older brother was twelve. After Adam was born she got a postcard from Marika thirty years after she left. Lorna has tried for two decades to have some sort of relationship with Marika, which has only resulted in her mother spending Thanksgiving day with them.

Adam has abruptly returned from college and is going through some secret turmoil of his own. He is withdrawn, refers to himself as "A" for anti-matter, and is rejecting first person pronouns and names. Lorna has never told Adam about being abandoned by Marika and Adam has not shared what happened to him.

When a neighbor of Marika contacts Lorna to tell her that Marika has hurt her ankle and needs help, Lorna and Adam travel up to her cabin in Vermont. Lorna sees it as an opportunity to tell Adam about her past and perhaps get him to share what happened to him. She also hopes it will help her relationship with her mother.

The Blue Window is a compelling, captivating exploration of closely held secrets in a family and how they can take over your whole life. Berne skillfully scrutinizes how closely held secrets that are not confronted or openly explored can result in stress, resentment, and anger. All three individuals here are troubled and hiding something. The tension builds with the three of them being together and not trying to openly express their obvious issues. When Lorna finally confronts Marika, it opens up a flood of resentment.

The narrative is told through the point-of-view of Lorna, Adam, and Marika. The characters are portrayed as realistic individuals, and there is some real insight into their characters. There will still be questions left in your mind afterward, though. Certainly, there was more information that needed to be shared and so many things that were left unsaid or unexplained.

This is an excellent, well-written novel. I especially enjoyed Berne's descriptions and use of language. Life can be messy and complicated, but so many plot points were left unanswered. Even as some deep insight into their individual thoughts and psyche was shared, I was left wanting more closure at the end. It is still a highly recommended novel, especially for those who enjoy literary fiction.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribner/Marysue Rucci Books via NetGalley.
… (mere)
SheTreadsSoftly | 1 anden anmeldelse | Dec 27, 2022 |
A middle class family in New England, hire a nanny to look after their two children while they get on with their busy lives. We learn early on that Randi has falsified her references and that Howard and Mirella are desperate to find someone. Reading on and learning that Randi likes to be in control and there have been problems with her own family (Randi is hiding from them) the reader may well think that he knows where this novel is going: going into the realms of "[The Hand That Rocked the Cradle]" or other murderous nanny stories that haunt many families, who take the live-in nanny as a solution to child care problems. It is more power to the elbow of Suzanne Berne that she does not take her readers down this route, but what she does reveal about family life, is in some respects just as shocking.

Howard is an architect working from home in his purpose built extension, Mirella is a lawyer working in a busy practice that she has set up with her good friend Ruth. They have two children; a daughter Pearl who goes to play-school and her younger brother Jacob who is not yet speaking and would appear to have learning difficulties. Randi despite lacking experience throws herself into being the perfect nanny and of course the children soon appreciate the attention that she gives them. Jacob particularly thrives under her care. It is almost inevitable that Mirella will become a little jealous. Suzanne Berne focuses on the life of the family, their day to day existence, Randi striving to excel with new ideas and initiatives, while the lives of Howard and Mirella, becoming a little remote from the children; leaving them space to get into their own difficulties.

Another theme of the book is the residents pride in their New England town. Proud of their history, living a few miles north of where the pilgrim fathers landed. Pageants, fetes, are important events in their yearly calendar, seemingly a celebration of family life. However one gets the feeling that these middle class families are a little insular, too wrapped up in their own success perhaps. When things go wrong in a family, then that family tends to implode while neighbours look on in curiosity.

Randi the young nanny is the central character of this book and Berne paints her realistically as she does with the rest of the family. Nobody is nasty, nobody is evil, it is just the pressures of family and business life that takes their toll within the family unit. I enjoyed my birds eye view of the Cook-Goldmans who lacked for nothing, but a little imagination 3.5 stars.
… (mere)
2 stem
baswood | 3 andre anmeldelser | Apr 26, 2022 |



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