CANONGATE £7.99 (233PP)
Paperbacks: The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, by Rebecca Mille
Friday 18 July 2008
Questions of female identity are at the heart of Rebecca Miller's debut novel – a portrait of a middle-aged woman who has learnt to keep her real self under wraps.
Married to a New York publisher 30 years her senior, Pippa Lee has dedicated herself to becoming the perfect helpmeet and wife. When the novel opens she and her husband, Herb, have just moved into a retirement community in Connecticut. Here, Pippa continues to entertain Herb's literary friends: soothing writerly egos with butterflied lamb and crème brûlée. Very early on the narrative, which begins as a pithy slice of East Coast satire, strikes a more idiosyncratic note. In an affecting first person account, Pippa revisits her intense relationship with her mother: a woman who allowed her to suck on a baby's bottles until well into her teens.
As a young woman, Pippa escapes this perverse maternal bond in a series of marriage-wrecking affairs. Pop psychology and well-judged insight are combined in a novel that explores how far Pippa's real self is compromised by marriage with a much older, successful man. Pippa admits to finding the mystery of other people "almost unbearable". Luckily for us, Miller (the daughter of the late Arthur Miller) is a writer keyed into the pleasures of full disclosure.
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw
Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile