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The Vacationers: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Emma Straub
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (564 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.95
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $15.96 (59%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

"Delicious . . . richly riveting . . . The Vacationers offers all the delights of a fluffy, read-it-with-sunglasses-on-the-beach read, made substantial by the exceptional wit, insight, intelligence and talents of its author.”—People (four stars)

An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2014: Here's the funny thing about family: there's no one you love more than your relatives, and yet they're also the people who push your buttons the most. Emma Straub has captured this dilemma in her pitch-perfect second novel The Vacationers. The Post family’s vacation to the Balearic island of Mallorca is one fraught with jealousy and quiet secrets. It's an anniversary for parents Franny and Jim, who are making amends for some rocky marital misgivings; their son Bobby and his much-maligned older girlfriend Carmen have a financial favor to ask; and high school-age daughter Sylvia has made it her mission to lose her virginity to her Spanish tutor. The novel is warm--not just for the sunny beaches that surround Mallorca, but for the compassion and humor that Straub imbues in her characters. The Vacationers is a summer read for sure, but you'd be hard pressed to find a smarter one. --Kevin Nguyen

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Straub’s second novel (Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, 2012) is contained in the two-week vacation of the extended Post family: Franny and Jim, married over 30 years; their teen daughter, Sylvia; twentysomething son Bobby, his girlfriend, Carmen, in tow; and Franny’s best friend, Charles, and his husband, Lawrence. Trading one grand island for another, the mainly Manhattanites arrive in Mallorca with, of course, a few secrets tucked in their literal baggage—and so begin the games that occur above the plane of the Scrabble board. Jim has suddenly left his beloved magazine job, and not everyone knows the circumstances; Sylvia’s excitement to get to Brown might have more to do with leaving home; Carmen wishes Bobby would ask his parents for that favor already; and it’s more than work e-mails keeping Lawrence searching for a Wi-Fi signal. Straub masters a constantly changing flow of perspectives as readers wonder who will forgive and be forgiven in this sun-soaked, remote paradise. Spongy and dear, sharply observed and funny, Straub’s domestic-drama-goes-abroad is a delightful study of the complexities of family and love, and the many distractions from both. --Annie Bostrom

Product Details

  • File Size: 1771 KB
  • Print Length: 301 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1447262859
  • Publisher: Riverhead (May 29, 2014)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G3L7TPY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #544 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first beach read of 2014 March 8, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is hard to distinguish yourself as an author in the dysfunctional family arena. Authors have already taken me to a shiva, summer houses, weddings and funerals. This time a two week vacation in Mallorca, Spain becomes the backdrop, as we follow the ups and downs of the Post family and friends.

From the beginning, no one is particularly thrilled about this sojourn. Initially booked as a 35th wedding anniversary present, the Post marriage is now in flux. 60 year old Jim has recently been forced to resign as the editor of a New York Magazine for his dalliance with a 23 year old intern. His wife Fanny is a writer "going around the world and writing about what she ate" is deciding what her next course of action might be. Sylvia, their 18 year old daughter, is ready to begin Brown University in the fall and wants to lose her virginity. She is disheartened to see the fighting among her parents and has recently gone through her own angst due to her girl /boyfriend's duplicitous actions. 28 year old Bobby is a realtor and lives in Florida. He is a casualty of the real-estate bubble. He has been living with his girlfriend Carmen, who is 10 years older, for seven years without making a commitment. Carmen is an instructor at the Total Body Power and feels like an outsider, everything she does in order to please her boyfriend's family "never seemed to be right". Charles is Fanny's best friend and he and husband Lawrence have been trying to adopt a baby to complete their family.

Author Emma Straub appears to make all the right decisions. Instead of using alternating chapters with a lot of back-story, she jumps from character to character, as the book starts on Day One of the vacation and ends on Day Fourteen.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Meet the Post family and their entourage as they all descend on Mallorca for a two week vacation. They have rented a house that they think is 'large enough' to hold their secrets and dysfunctions. However, nothing remains secret for very long.

The Post family is at time of transition. Franny and Jim have been married for thirty-five years and it is quite possible that they will get divorced. Jim has had an affair with a very young woman at his work-place, someone only a few years older than his daughter. Not only has he lost his job as the editor of Gallant magazine because of his indiscretion, but he might also lose his wife who he still loves very much. He is floundering and not ready for this imposed early retirement at sixty years old. Franny, who writes about food for a living, finds it almost impossible to be around Jim since his affair. Forgiving him seems to be out of the question.

Sylvia Post is eighteen years old and headed to Brown University in the fall. She wants to reinvent herself in college and is sick of everyone who has known her in school since she was a child. One of her pressing goals is to lose her virginity. This is a big task for a young woman who has been kissed only six times since she was twelve. She is worried about her parents' relationship as she has overheard their arguments at home.

Bobby Post is twenty-eight and living in Miami with Carmen, a woman more than a decade older than him who his family does not like. Bobby's job selling real estate went under because of the crash in the Florida real estate market. He works as an assistant trainer at the health club where he met Carmen, also a trainer. Bobby invested all his money in an Amway-like distribution scheme to sell whey products to work-out fanatics.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Beach Read July 2, 2014
Just finished this book and logged on to write a short review while it was fresh in my mind. I was shocked to see so many negative one and two star ratings. I will admit that The Vacationers is not great literature or in danger of winning a Pulitzer, but it's a perfectly good little novel and quite entertaining. I thought the characters were well defined and of varied enough interests to keep me guessing where it would go next. This was a group situation of family/friends spending two weeks together, albeit in paradise, still in a confined setting. We all know the little nuances, annoyances, and petty upsets that can arise in such circumstances, and I thought the author did a good job of conveying the emotions that each character experienced. I definitely came away with a feeling of the love/hate relationship which exists in all families, and in the end felt I knew the Post clan pretty well. The ultimate outcome was more or less what I expected but not what I would call predictable. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it for anyone who wants a light, easy read, a little literary getaway so to speak. If you're taking a holiday to the beach this summer, this is the perfect book to pack.
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43 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable but worthy of the summer beach bag May 26, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This summer I told myself that I would try to read as many books that took place on a body of water (i.e. a lake or ocean). For some reason, these kinds of setting always remind me of my summer vacations as a child. So I made a pact with myself that no matter where I can physically located this summer, I will mentally be at the beach. "The Vacationers" is one in my long list of books with such a setting (it takes place on a Spanish island). While it's not at the top of the list, "We Are Liars" has that spot, it certainly is not at the bottom.

The Posts are part of Manhattan society, but that doesn't mean that they're spared when it comes to familial issues. The Posts are certainly not lacking in that department, and this vacation means something different to each of them. Jim, the father, is trying to escape the fact that he has been fired due to a scandal of his own making at the magazine in which he was employed. Franny, the mother, is trying to get some distance from her husband and hopefully decide the next step she should take in her marriage. Sylvia, the daughter, has just graduated high school and wants to get away so she can take the first steps in re-inventing herself for college. Bobby, the son, is flying in from Miami where he lives with his personal trainer girlfriend (who no one likes). Along for the ride are husbands Charles and Lawrence, who are desperate to adopt a baby. When they all come together, it feels as if the island isn't big enough to contain the drama that unfolds.

For all of the baggage that these travelers brought, there wasn't as much of an explosion as I thought. Everyone meets on an island off the coast of Spain where they take up residence in a lovely cottage for two weeks.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Kind of boring...
I was looking forward to reading this and really wanted to enjoy it. The characters felt flat and not developed to the point that I didn't particularly care about any of their... Read more
Published 6 minutes ago by Dorothy Wagner
5.0 out of 5 stars Like being on vacation...
I love love love this book! I feel like I've been on vacation with the Post's and am so incredibly happy to have watched them all grow during their trip. Read more
Published 8 hours ago by To The Left
3.0 out of 5 stars OK summer read
Cute summer read, but nothing exciting happens.
Published 11 hours ago by Dawnsternaz
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretty boring!
Waited for something exciting to happen but nothing did. Pretty boring!
Published 21 hours ago by Cherie England
4.0 out of 5 stars Good beach read
Great book
Published 22 hours ago by Sabrina
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm bored by it
I'm bored by it. Lot of pseudo New York WASPY angst that's not very interesting. (Did they really have to go to Europe just for an end of summer beach vacation - did I really need... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Jennifer Allyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
People magazine gave this book a great review,and they were spot-on. Bravo! A tasty summer time treat for people who root for love to win.
Published 1 day ago by Fallulah T Goodenov
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Summer Read
This book was a good summer read. I enjoyed the characters and the setting. There were a few story lines I wished went a little further but all in all, I'd recommend this book.
Published 1 day ago by Dana S - Philadelphia.
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
A very poorly written book and a waste of time!
Published 1 day ago by Joan Garde
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A nice summer read. I've recommended it to several friends already.
Published 1 day ago by LOVEAMAZON
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