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Remedies Paperback – August 3, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425234487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425234488
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,598,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Ledger's accomplished debut offers a compelling view of married life through the prism of unacknowledged grief. Baltimore physician Simon Bear is a confident, magnanimous man with an inflated view of himself and his abilities. His wife, Emily, a star public relations executive, handles corporate crises with an ease, but can't find a way to connect with their moody adolescent daughter, Jamie. While the Bears outwardly appear an enviably successful couple, neither Simon nor Emily has ever resolved the tragic and early death of their firstborn. Simon buries himself in work and with all-consuming hobbies (his latest is winemaking). Emily, too, is consumed by work, though she's privately devastated about her shortcomings as a mother and tempted by another man. Jamie, meanwhile, presses her mother's buttons, knowing she can never make up for the loss of the dead brother she never knew. Ledger follows the trajectory from achievement to failure with rare insight, suggesting that it is through Jamie that Simon and Emily can find redemption. An impressive portrait of a family in crisis, executed with finesse and assurance. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking. My copy is fat with all of the corners that I folded down on pages that I will want to read again."
-Elizabeth Evans

"This is a taut and elegant book, and an impressive literary debut."
-Roxana Robinson

"Kate Ledger explores the margins of science and marriage with a surgeon's precision and a magician's sleight of hand, in prose that is clear, seductive, and sure. A wonderful surprise from an exciting new writer."
-J. Robert Lennon, author of Castle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Sisters-in-law Kate Ledger and Lisa Sachs present The Dogs' Book of Romance as the much-awaited follow-up to their successful debut, The Cats' Book of Romance. Currently at work on a novel, Kate holds an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Arizona. Lisa, a graduate of Yale's master of fine arts program in photography, has shown her art in galleries in New York and Paris. She works as a freelance photographer in Washington, D.C.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 52 customer reviews
Ledger's is a very well written novel.
Jill Meyer
REMEDIES tells the story -- and history -- of Simon and Emily.
The characters are well written-- both selfish and engaging.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "switterbug" Betsey Van Horn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an exquisitely written, urbane novel that has teeth to it--cutting incisors that bite and sting and leave their marks right down to the marrow and bone (and into your heart). With sinewy, spiked prose and metaphors that melt in your mouth, Remedies seizes you from the first sentence and moves tautly with each ensuing page. There is not one bland, banal, or stale phrase in this book. It's clean and scrubbed, tangy and citric; moreover, it migrates under your skin. The pages flutter and fly as you descend into depths as sharp and barbed as a large bore needle.

Simon Bear, who is a (internist) doctor, and his wife, Emily, a (PR) spin-doctor, are successful at their careers. However, their marriage is bleeding out--they suffered a tremendous blow sixteen years ago and still have old, gnawing wounds that prevent the healing process from taking root. Their thirteen year-old-daughter, Jamie, has sullenly retreated from their love and their lives and is also maimed by their psychic torment.

Simon's coping strategies include starting projects or hobbies at full speed ahead and then dropping them cold. In the basement are his abandoned projects, along with the fragments of the pain he shares with Emily. His new enterprise is winemaking, which he plans on doing with Jamie and surprising his wife with when he has the wine bottled. He desires to earn back her attention and respect, but he again becomes sidetracked by his patients--he believes he has stumbled upon the cure for chronic pain.

Meanwhile, Emily feels guilty for not having maternal instincts. She loves Jamie but cannot knock down that wall between them. She is convinced that her daughter hates her and that it is too late for them to forge a bond.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By delicateflower152 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In "Remedies," Kate Ledger has written a stark portrait of a devastated marriage. Devastated by the spouses' inability to overcome their pasts, both as individuals and as a couple... Devastated by the spouses' self-absorption... Devastated by the spouses' narcissisms... Devastated by the spouses' self-delusions... This, in a nutshell, sums up "Remedies."

Dr. Simon Bear, a respected physician, is driven by his need for acceptance and affirmation. Conceived at a time when unwed mothers were considered "ruined," Simon has been raised by the stepfather who married his mother while she was pregnant. Having never felt a part of his mother and stepfather's close relationship, Simon continues, without success, to seek their approval. Thus, he is unable to remedy his own emotional pain. Failing to obtain his parents' approval, Simon focuses on satisfying his patients' need for relief from physical pain and basks in their adulation. Simon throws himself into his work, deluding himself into the belief that only he understands and empathizes with them. And so, in providing a remedy for his patients' anguish, Simon attempts to provide an alternate remedy for his own pain.

Focusing on his patients' physical pains, Simon is oblivious to his wife's silent anguish. Emily, successful as a partner in a public relations firm, is torn by her unexpressed pain and by the realization that her marriage is a hollow shell. Her pain - hiding her father's psychological illness and subsequent suicide, failing to mourn the death of their infant son Caleb, being emotionally separated from their daughter Jamie - serves as a catalyst for renewing an affair with a former lover.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jill I. Shtulman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Remedies is a book about pain, in all its different manifestations: chronic physical pain, emotional pain, pain that permeates through marriages and lifes and throughout bodies. Ms. Ledger's debut novel focuses squarely on unacknowledged grief and unresolved pain through the microcosm of the family and the macrocosm of the medical world.

Simon Bear is a well-loved internist who is willing to go to great lengths to alleviate his patients' suffering, operating his respected Baltimore practice from a built-on wing of his magnificent and historic home. His wife, Emily, is a partner in a prestigious PR firm who handles corporate crises with aplomb but cannot handle a crisis that's brewing in her own home: the growing rebelliousness of her 13-year-old daughter, Jamie. Neither of them has been able to successfully navigate the death of Caleb, their first-born infant son; nor can Simon truly connect to his out-of-state parents, who believe he is pushing through all their boundaries.

Through a quirk of fate, Simon stumbles across a trial drug that appears to be the panacea for pain. But he has a new assistant -- someone who is dead-set against experimentation and opiates for the chronically pain-laden patients -- who is setting herself up to be his downfall. (In one of the least convincing passages toward the beginning, Simon kisses her, bringing in the potential of a harassment suit). Simon says, "People shouldn't be forced to suffer. I don't believe they should be told to keep a stiff upper lip, or tough it out. Life is hard enough and long-term pain doesn't do any good for the person who's experiencing it. Ask any doctor, any good doctor, any doctor telling the truth, and they'll admit that opioids work best. They're the gold standard for pain relief.
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