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Everybody Rise: A Novel Paperback – June 14, 2016
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“Full of ambition and grit. Clifford provides sharp-eyed access to a moneyed world and its glamorous inhabitants.” ―Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of The Vacationers
“A masterful tale of social climbing and entrenched class distinctions . . . Tense, hilarious, and bursting with gorgeous language. Stephanie Clifford is a 21st century Edith Wharton.” ―J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of The Engagements and Maine
“A superb debut. Everybody Rise is a 21st century version of a grand 19th century novel--a smart, moving tale of class, ambition, and identity.” ―Malcolm Gladwell
“A compulsive, up-close-and-personal read about the first cracks in the greed-and-bleed U.S. economy that went flying off the rails so spectacularly a short time later.” ―Library Journal
About the Author
As a New York Times reporter, Loeb-award winning journalist Stephanie Clifford covered courts, business and media. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard, she grew up in Seattle and lives in Brooklyn. Everybody Rise is her first book.
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As others have noted, there aren't too many (any?) characters here to life (maybe Charlotte?), but I think the bigger issue is actually believing in their behavior and speeches. I am fine reading about someone I don't like if they seem credible; Evelyn never did, nor did most of the others. Very broadly drawn, caricatures instead of people. This may be the focus of satire, but someone like Tom Wolfe accomplished a whole lot more in Bonfire of the Vanities, for example, as did Wharton in House of Mirth.
I don't much relate to the satire others get in this book. The bad food and poor maintenance at some exclusive clubs in NYC are legendary, not news, and the whimsical idiocy of certain boat races on Upper St. Regis Lake and Lake Placid (and some dirty tricks masquerading as innocent pranks) seem pretty tame for those of us who live in the Adirondack Park. People trying too hard to fit in and getting it wrong are probably better sent up in characters like Thackeray's Becky Sharp and James Jones' Maggio than in Clifford's heroine, Evelyn, but Clifford
does a solid job of making Evelyn's cross-threaded motivations and goals plausible, if occasionally deluded.
The most beautifully described and real-life-intense sections are those where Evelyn's relationship(s) with her mother and father are explored, either via dialogue or in Evelyn's thinking about them. Separately, Evelyn as a little girl talking with Mrs. Van Rensselaer is brilliant and evocative,
and a rain-soaked Evelyn singing Sondheim in a piano bar is a classic vignette.
If I had druthers, they would be that Clifford would either work a little harder on her comic timing or else abandon overt comedy altogether. She
does sincerity and thought-provoking anger and debate extremely well, and she has a nuanced feel for how people can communicate effectively, but obliquely or via non-verbal messages, when they really care about each other almost too much. This is a rarer talent than she
may know, and it is worth developing into more muscular formats. Clifford is very likely to build a stronger voice as she keeps working.
Most recent customer reviews
A story about a bunch of insufferable bores and the girl who desperately tries to fit in with them. Evelyn Beegan is an on-the-fringe outsider.Read more