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Amber is the catalyst who makes the novel happen. She appears on the doorstep of the Smart's rented summer cottage in Norfolk, England, barefoot and unexpected. Eve Smart, a third-rate author suffering writer's block, believes that she is a friend of her husband's. Michael is a womanizing University professor, but he doesn't usually drag his quarry home. He thinks that she must be a friend of Eve's. Everyone is politely confused and Amber is invited to dinner. She is a consummate liar and manipulator who manages to seduce everyone in the family in some significant way.
Magnus, Eve's 17-year-old son from a former marriage and Astrid, her 12-year-old daughter, are easy prey. Magnus is in despair. He played a prank on a classmate and it went horribly wrong when she killed herself because of the humiliation it caused. He cannot shake the guilt and is about to hang himself from the shower rod when Amber walks into the bathroom, the perfect deus ex machina. She bathes him and takes him back downstairs, announcing that she found him trying to kill himself. Everyone titters. Could it be possible? This is a recurring question as Amber's behavior becomes more and more outrageous. Is this really happening, or is it some family-wide delusion? To add to the mystery, there is a Rashomon-like character to the story in that the same events are recalled by the Smarts through their own filters.
This is a completely engrossing novel that raises as many questions as it answers. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This is the weirdest book I have ever read. Stream of consciousness writing was a major feature and had zero contribution to telling the story. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Collage Artist
The provocative Amber enters a families life and changes everything. We hear each family member's story and the way they claw back their humanity through the help of Amber. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good read! Somewhat confusing.
Great references (movie).
Well enough written I suppose, but I just couldn't care about any of the characters. I liked the writing style, I liked the structure, the story should have been good... Read morePublished 15 months ago by tarsh
Do you appreciate post-modern award winning deconstructed writing, or do you find the mental gymnastics required to follow the plot in such cases disconcerting and exhausting? Read morePublished 17 months ago by Billy Boy
The stream-of-consciousness works very well in this book and the unique and sometimes startling writing style is impressive. Read morePublished 23 months ago by AvisE
This has to be one of the most boring books I have ever read. I managed to get to the end, but was sorely tempted along the way to just erase it from my Kindle. Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by Robert
The novel is ambitious and creative, both good things. The characters are all compelling, and the dialogue is spot on. But for some reason, the book didn't work for me. Read morePublished on March 14, 2013 by Kindle Reader