Jami Attenberg - book author
I'm the author of Instant Love, The Kept Man, The Melting Season, The Middlesteins, and Saint Mazie. My sixth book, All Grown Up, came out March 2017 and my latest novel, All This Could Be Yours, is forthcoming in October 2019. You can find me on twitter @jamiattenberg. I'm originally from the Chicago area, lived in New York City for twenty years, and am now happily a New Orleans resident.
Jami Attenberg is the author of books: The Middlesteins, All Grown Up, Saint Mazie, All This Could Be Yours, The Kept Man, Instant Love: Fiction, The Melting Season, A Trip to the End of the World, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone, Armchair / Shotgun No 4
When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. Robin, their schoolteacher daughter, is determined that her father pay for leaving Edie. Benny, an easy-going, pot-smoking family man, just wants to smooth things over. And Rachelle-- a whippet thin perfectionist-- is intent on saving her mother-in-law's life, but this task proves even bigger than planning her twin children's spectacular b'nai mitzvah party. Through it all, they wonder: do Edie's devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone, or are others at fault, too?
With pitch-perfect prose, huge compassion, and sly humor, Jami Attenberg has given us an epic story of marriage, family, and obsession. The Middlesteins explores the hopes and heartbreaks of new and old love, the yearnings of Midwestern America, and our devastating, fascinating preoccupation with food.
Who is Andrea Bern? When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say: she’s a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it’s what she leaves unsaid—she’s alone, a drinker, a former artist, a shrieker in bed, captain of the sinking ship that is her flesh—that feels the most true. Everyone around her seems to have an entirely different idea of what it means to be an adult: her best friend, Indigo, is getting married; her brother—who miraculously seems unscathed by their shared tumultuous childhood—and sister-in-law are having a hoped-for baby; and her friend Matthew continues to wholly devote himself to making dark paintings at the cost of being flat broke.
But when Andrea’s niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters. Will this drive them together or tear them apart? Told in gut-wrenchingly honest, mordantly comic vignettes, All Grown Up is a breathtaking display of Jami Attenberg’s power as a storyteller, a whip-smart examination of one woman’s life, lived entirely on her own terms.
When the Great Depression hits, Mazie's life is on the brink of transformation. Addicts and bums roam the Bowery; homelessness is rampant. If Mazie won't help them, then who? When she opens the doors of The Venice to those in need, this ticket-taking, fun-time girl becomes the beating heart of the Lower East Side, and in defining one neighborhood helps define the city.
Then, more than ninety years after Mazie began her diary, it's discovered by a documentarian in search of a good story. Who was Mazie Phillips, really? A chorus of voices from the past and present fill in some of the mysterious blanks of her adventurous life.
Inspired by the life of a woman who was profiled in Joseph Mitchell's classic Up in the Old Hotel, Saint Mazie is infused with Jami Attenberg's signature wit, bravery, and heart. Mazie's rise to "sainthood"--and her irrepressible spirit--is unforgettable.
As Barbra fends of Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life with Victor. Meanwhile Gary, Alex’s brother, is incommunicado, trying to get his movie career off the ground in Los Angeles. And Gary’s wife, Twyla, is having a nervous breakdown, buying up all the lipstick in drug stores around New Orleans and bursting into crying fits. Dysfunction is at its peak. As each family member grapples with Victor’s history, they must figure out a way to move forward—with one another, for themselves, and for the sake of their children.
All This Could Be Yours is a timely, piercing exploration of what it means to be caught in the web of a toxic man who abused his power; it shows how those webs can tangle a family for generations and what it takes to—maybe, hopefully—break free.
Jarvis Miller's artist husband has been in a coma for six years. And so, Jarvis has spent these years suspended between hope and grief, paralyzed with longing for a life and a marriage that are slipping away. But then, unexpectedly, Jarvis makes her first new friends in years when she meets the Kept Man Club: three men whose lifestyles are funded by their successful wives, who gather once a week on laundry day. With their help, she reawakens to the city beyond her Brooklyn apartment, past the pitying eyes of her husband?s art dealer and his irresponsible best friend as her future begins to take on the irresistible tingles of possibility for the first time in almost a decade. When a shocking discovery casts a different light on her idealized marriage, she's propelled even further down a path that she would never have dared to imagine just months before. Tender, bold, and unabashed, The Kept Man is a compulsively readable novel about love and loss from one of our most dynamic new storytellers.
But we don’t give up. We keep trying. We’re either too stupid to learn from our mistakes or we honestly believe that the next time will be different; it’s hard to say which. Driven by the mad hopefulness that is part of the human condition, we are constantly falling in and out of love with a slightly different version of the person who came before. Jami Attenberg chronicles those exact moments with heartbreaking realism in her powerful debut, Instant Love.
Told through the eyes of three young women and their friends and lovers, Instant Love explores what it means to be in love, what it means to be lonely, and what it means to be both at the same time. Holly turns to computer dating to find love even as she thinks wistfully of a former boyfriend who loved her well and fed her ice cream. Maggie recounts the story of her one crazy summer to her disbelieving husband and feels the distance between them grow wider than the void across their king-sized bed. And Sarah Lee remembers the one who got away and the one she ran away from, all the while moving toward the one she can actually love.
As Holly, Maggie, and Sarah Lee move through the rituals of modern love, they have to decide who is worth taking a chance on in a world where things don’t fall into place easily, people are often difficult, and disappointment is the rule. Through their stories, Attenberg presents a rare, honest look at love.
Also available as an eBook.
From the Hardcover edition.
Catherine Madison is headed West with a suitcase full of cash that isn't hers. She's just left the only home she's ever known, a small town in Nebraska, after the only man she had ever known, her husband, Thomas, deserted her. She's also left behind her deepest, most shameful secrets-among them a dysfunctional family she's never quite been able to escape and a marriage whose most intimate moments have plagued her with self-doubt. On the road, she was going to become a new person. Or so she thought.
But running away from the past isn't as easy as she had hoped. When Catherine reaches Las Vegas, she forms surprising new friendships that compel her to reveal what she had sworn she'd keep hidden, and teach her what human connection really means. Armed with this new knowledge, she is finally emboldened to uncover the truth about her family, come to understand what destroyed her marriage, and prevent her troubled sister from repeating her mistakes.
Deeply compassionate and unflinchingly bold, The Melting Season is the story of an indelible character's journey from isolation to belonging, as well as an honest look at the things we feel we deserve from our lives- and how far we will go to find them.
Part solace, part celebration, part handbook, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant offers a wealth of company, inspiration, and humor--and finally, solo recipes in these essays about food that require no division or subtraction, for readers of Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones & Butter and Tamar Adler's The Everlasting Meal.
Featuring essays by:
Steve Almond, Jonathan Ames, Jami Attenberg, Laura Calder, Mary Cantwell, Dan Chaon, Laurie Colwin, Laura Dave, Courtney Eldridge, Nora Ephron, Erin Ergenbright, M. F. K. Fisher, Colin Harrison, Marcella Hazan, Amanda Hesser, Holly Hughes, Jeremy Jackson, Rosa Jurjevics, Ben Karlin, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Beverly Lowry, Haruki Murakami, Phoebe Nobles, Ann Patchett, Anneli Rufus and Paula Wolfert.
View our feature on the essay collection Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant.