- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (June 2, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594633886
- ISBN-13: 978-1594633881
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,201 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Vacationers: A Novel Paperback – June 2, 2015
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"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)
“Set down on the idyllic island of Majorca in the Mediterranean Sea, the Posts confront that universal complaint of vacationing families everywhere: There is nothing to do but get on one another’s nerves. Still, that’s plenty of activity for Straub to spin one beguiling scene after another, exposing spots of annoyance slathered with sunscreen. Much of the comedy springs from the tension between being required to have the best time in the world and wanting to stab someone with an ice pick. . . . In these pages — so funny, so wise and, yes, even so sweet — she’s created the best feel-good story of the summer.”—The Washington Post
“Emma Straub puts the fun back in dysfunction.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Those who love novels featuring sly humor, sun-drenched islands, and family drama will fall fast and hard for this one. A nearly perfect read, beach or otherwise.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“There’s nothing more addictive than a darkly funny dysfunctional domestic drama. Straub’s novel–set during a fraught family vacation in Mallorca–is pretty much the perfect beach read."—Entertainment Weekly
“For those unable to jet off to a Spanish island this summer, reading The Vacationers may be the next-best thing. . . . [A] gorgeously written novel . . . When I turned the last page, I felt as I often do when a vacation is over: grateful for the trip and mourning its end.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A psychologically astute comic novel. . . . Picturesque and filled with the solvable problems of the privileged, this is the kind of novel Franny or Sylvia might take on a trip to read poolside. It’s good company.”—The Boston Globe
"Emma Straub’s bustling new novel is about a New York family’s two-week idyll in a house on the Spanish island of Mallorca. It’s also about a different kind of break: infidelity. . . . The story’s women are so well drawn that they seem instantly familiar. . . . Witty."—The New York Times
"The Vacationers takes readers on an affecting, funny ride.”—The Miami Herald
"Straub has a knack, reminiscent of Lorrie Moore, for writing beautiful prose about ordinary situations. . . . The Vacationers really is perfect summer reading: a beautifully written story that’s neither too depressing nor too charming.”—AV Club
“[A] warm, witty story"—Good Housekeeping
“Too compelling to leave your chaise lounge!”—In Style
“Full of Warmth and Wisdom . . . a frothy beach read.”—NPR
“Irresistible novel about simmering family tensions.”—Town and Country
“Funny, poignant, and beautifully observed.”—Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You, via Twitter
“I would read anything Emma Straub writes. She’s a natural talent and a gorgeous and witty storyteller, who makes each sentence look not only easy, but perfectly real. I came to care so deeply about every single character in this great novel that I found myself unable to go to sleep at night until I was certain they had all landed safely. And they will linger with me, this richly imagined family, long into the future.”—Elizabeth Gilbert
“Witty, big-hearted, and packed with wisdom, this novel is a breezy read that sneaks in its emotional wallops and leaves you smiling for days.”—Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette
“Charming and absorbing, this is a novel that demands to be read in long, satisfying gulps.”—Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements
"The Vacationers is a beautifully told story that walks the tightrope of family angst and connection with hilarity and truth. Get ready for the Post family drama, where the near empty nest collides with the dreams of the new generation. Emma Straub's writing is deft, clear and wise in ways that will surprise and delight you. It's a beyond the beach read. It's Ms. Straub at her dazzling best."—Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker’s Wife
“Expertly observed…offers such psychologically astute portrayals of the characters that it is hard not to feel fondly towards even their least appealing quirks. It’s a delightful, breezy read in every way but one—it’s a vacation that’s hard to leave behind.”—Elle
“Did Emma Straub just get a little John Cheever-esque with her latest novel? Take the WASPy family on vacation, with all their little underlying issues coming to the surface, combined with Straub’s witty and colorful writing, and The Vacationers is the type of book just about anybody can read and enjoy. We guarantee this will be on every single list of summer beach reads come next month. Just you watch.”—Flavorwire
“Funny and tender . . . the perfect lighthearted beach read.”—Pop Sugar
“In The Vacationers, Emma Straub, a master observer of human emotion, once again dazzles her readers with this richly imagined travelogue, a fun, witty story about family relationships—their evolution and strength. With its lush, scenic setting and its exciting cast of characters, The Vacationers is certain to be your newest beach accessory.”—Bustle
“Few writers can infuse a sentence with as much wit as Straub can. . . . A near-perfect high-brow summer novel.”—Grantland
“Emma Straub's second novel is funny and yet also surprisingly substantial.”—Christian Science Monitor
“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.”—Booklist (starred review)
"A novel that is both a lot of fun to read and has plenty of insight into the marital bond and the human condition.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The pacing is quick but satisfying and the characters themselves feel genuinely complex, interesting, and knowledgeable. . . . A pleasant, readable journey.”—Publishers Weekly
“Straub’s characters are suffused with humor and humanity, their relationships every bit as fragile and flawed–but also resilient–as we know to be true of real life…This novel is an utter delight and the perfect read for a sunny afternoon. It rings with truth and shines with the confidence of a writer hitting her stride.”—BookRiot
“Straub has created long lost friends through whom she explores the ways in which love cuts us and prompts us to grow throughout our lives.”—Bloggers Recommend
About the Author
Emma Straub is the New York Times‒bestselling author of Modern Lovers, The Vacationers, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. Straub's work has been published in fifteen countries. She and her husband co-own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn.
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Even though the structure of the novel may seem simple (chapters follow days of the vacation and their are predictable beginning and end points), it provides a calm, stable backdrop for the exciting family dynamics that unfold. Sylvia Post, the high school graduate, is witty and fresh; hers are some of the most easily quotable quotes in the book. I connected with Sylvia immediately as I held a high level of disdain for my mother at her age, as well. At one point in the novel Sylvia wonders, "What were parents anyway except two people who had once thought they were the smartest people in the world? They were a delusional species, as tiny-brained as dinosaurs."
Franny and Jim, Sylvia's parents, are discovering that life in their house without children may be even worse than their life together now. Jim has just been canned from his job after sleeping with an intern, which opens up what comes to be a prevalent theme in the novel - infidelity. The couple has yet to tell Sylvia and their son Bobby, who lives in Miami with his much older girlfriend, Carmen, about the circumstances surrounding their father's "retirement." Franny has invited both Bobby and Carmen to Mallorca, reluctantly, as Franny does not deem Carmen "appropriate" for her son and their interactions are quite entertaining.
The final couple along for the trip is that of Charles, Franny's long-time best friend, and his boyfriend Lawrence, who always feels like he is a third wheel around Charles and Franny and as if he is "playing catch up" for all of the years they have known each other before he was around. They have their own set of personal circumstances going on, which becomes more prominent as the story unfolds.
All of these folks arrive on Mallorca with their own agenda, their own ideal for this trip; however, as the characters develop and the dynamics heat up, we find their ideas being twisted and I found my interest building as I anticipated when and how things would erupt within the group. I'm not sure how satisfied I was by the ending, but I will leave that for each reader to decide; we all bring our own stories to these characters, and the individual flavor is what makes reading a novel so personal.
Ms. Straub writes some of her best characters and I thoroughly enjoyed the novel; I would highly recommend adding this to your travel bag, night stand or wherever you'll be stacking your summer reads.