The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel
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Description
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER"Ambitious and brilliantly written."—Jane Smiley, The Washington Post"Outstanding...[the] literary love child of Jonathan Franzen and Anne Tyler."—The Guardian"Everything about this brilliant debut cuts deep: the humor, the wisdom, the pathos. Claire Lombardo writes like she's been doing it for a hundred years, and like she's been alive for a thousand."—Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great BelieversWhen Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that's to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she's not sure she wants by a man she's not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents'. As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt—given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before—we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons' past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo's debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family's becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.
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Street Date:
06/25/2019
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385544269
ASIN:
B07H72D3ZX
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Claire Lombardo. (2019). The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Claire Lombardo. 2019. The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Claire Lombardo, The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2019.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Claire Lombardo. The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2019. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: CLAIRE LOMBARDO earned her MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. A former social worker, she now teaches fiction writing and is at work on a second novel.
      • name: Claire Lombardo
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publishDate
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title
The Most Fun We Ever Had
fullDescription
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Ambitious and brilliantly written."—Jane Smiley, The Washington Post

"Outstanding...[the] literary love child of Jonathan Franzen and Anne Tyler."—The Guardian
"Everything about this brilliant debut cuts deep: the humor, the wisdom, the pathos. Claire Lombardo writes like she's been doing it for a hundred years, and like she's been alive for a thousand."—Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that's to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she's not sure she wants by a man she's not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents'.
As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt—given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before—we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons' past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.
Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo's debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family's becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "A rich, engrossing family saga, spiked with sisterly malice...[rendered] with such skill and finely tuned interest that it feels like a quiet subversion of the traditional family saga."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jane Smiley, The Washington Post
      • content: "Ambitious and brilliantly written."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "A sharp, sly family story of feminine guile and guilt...A fun and brimming tale...Divine."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Lombardo captures the complexity of a large family with characters who light up the page with their competition, secrets, and worries...A rich and rewarding family saga."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "A family epic...It resembles other sprawling midwestern family dramas, like Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections (2001)...The result is an affectionate, sharp, and eminently readable exploration of the challenges of love in its many forms."
      • premium: False
      • source: Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers
      • content: "Everything about this brilliant debut cuts deep: the humor, the wisdom, the pathos. Claire Lombardo writes like she's been doing it for a hundred years, and like she's been alive for a thousand."
      • premium: False
      • source: Richard Russo, author of That Old Cape Magic and Chances Are...
      • content: "In The Most Fun We Ever Had, Claire Lombardo has given us a truly unforgettable American family. The book bristles on every page with intelligence and fierce wit. What a debut!"
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2019

        Marilyn and David fall madly in love in the 1970s and stay in love through several tumultuous decades of raising four daughters: acidulous Wendy, widowed young; straight-arrow lawyer-turned-mom Violet; overlooked Liza, a professor fretting about her pregnancy and depressed boyfriend; and still unsettled Grace. A debut won in an eight-way auction.

        Copyright 1 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Marilyn and David fall madly in love in the 1970s and stay in love through several tumultuous decades of raising four daughters: acidulous Wendy, widowed young; straight-arrow lawyer-turned-mom Violet; overlooked Liza, a professor fretting about her pregnancy and depressed boyfriend; and still unsettled Grace. A debut won in an eight-way auction.

        Copyright 1 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2019
        Four Chicago sisters anchor a sharp, sly family story of feminine guile and guilt.Newcomer Lombardo brews all seven deadly sins into a fun and brimming tale of an unapologetically bougie couple and their unruly daughters. In the opening scene, Liza Sorenson, daughter No. 3, flirts with a groomsman at her sister's wedding. "There's four of you?" he asked. "What's that like?" Her retort: "It's a vast hormonal hellscape. A marathon of instability and hair products." Thus begins a story bristling with a particular kind of female intel. When Wendy, the oldest, sets her sights on a mate, she "made sure she left her mark throughout his house--soy milk in the fridge, box of tampons under the sink, surreptitious spritzes of her Bulgari musk on the sheets." Turbulent Wendy is the novel's best character, exuding a delectable bratty-ness. The parents--Marilyn, all pluck and busy optimism, and David, a genial family doctor--strike their offspring as impossibly happy. Lombardo levels this vision by interspersing chapters of the Sorenson parents' early lean times with chapters about their daughters' wobbly forays into adulthood. The central story unfurls over a single event-choked year, begun by Wendy, who unlatches a closed adoption and springs on her family the boy her stuffy married sister, Violet, gave away 15 years earlier. (The sisters improbably kept David and Marilyn clueless with a phony study-abroad scheme.) Into this churn, Lombardo adds cancer, infidelity, a heart attack, another unplanned pregnancy, a stillbirth, and an office crush for David. Meanwhile, youngest daughter Grace perpetrates a whopper, and "every day the lie was growing like mold, furring her judgment." The writing here is silky, if occasionally overwrought. Still, the deft touches--a neighborhood fundraiser for a Little Free Library, a Twilight character as erotic touchstone--delight. The class calibrations are divine even as the utter apolitical whiteness of the Sorenson world becomes hard to fathom.Characters flip between bottomless self-regard and pitiless self-loathing while, as late as the second-to-last chapter, yet another pleasurable tendril of sisterly malice uncurls.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 22, 2019
        Lombardo’s impressive debut follows the Sorenson clan—physician David, wife Marilyn, and their four daughters: Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace—through the 1970s to 2017. David and Marilyn raised the family in a rambling suburban Chicago house that belonged to Marilyn’s father. The daughters find varying degrees of success in their professional lives but fail to find the passion and romance that their parents continue to have in their own marriage. Wendy is a wealthy widow with a foul mouth and a drinking problem. Violet is a former lawyer turned stay-at-home mother of two young sons. At 32, Liza is a tenured professor with a depressive boyfriend. The baby of the family, 20-something Grace, is the only one of the daughters to have moved away, and now lives in Oregon. The daughters’ lives are in various stages of tumult: Wendy locates Jonah, the teenage son Violet gave up for adoption years prior; Violet struggles to integrate Jonah into her perfectly controlled life; Liza is shocked to discover she is pregnant; and Grace lies about being in law school after she was rejected. Lombardo captures the complexity of a large family with characters who light up the page with their competition, secrets, and worries. Despite its length and number of plotlines, the momentum never flags, making for a rich and rewarding family saga.

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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Ambitious and brilliantly written."—Jane Smiley, The Washington Post

"Outstanding...[the] literary love child of Jonathan Franzen and Anne Tyler."—The Guardian
"Everything about this brilliant debut cuts deep: the humor, the wisdom, the pathos. Claire Lombardo writes like she's been doing it for a hundred years, and like she's been alive for a thousand."—Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that's to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a...
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