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The Vacationers: A Novel Hardcover – May 29, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (May 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594631573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594631573
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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

Customer Reviews

The characters were flat and the plot too predictable, uninteresting.
kcuccia
The story line was predictable- I could easily tell exactly what would happen by book's end.
Scott Brown
It was a quick, easy read... A perfect book to read on a hot summer day!
MadCat29

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Nitty's Mom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 26, 2014
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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49 of 62 people found the following review helpful By D. Sorel VINE VOICE on 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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