Little Monsters (Hardcover)

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Little Monsters (Hardcover)


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From the author of the bestselling memoir Wild Game comes a riveting novel about Cape Cod, complicated families, and long-buried secrets—for fans of the New York Times bestsellers The Paper Palace and Ask Again, Yes.

Ken and Abby Gardner lost their mother when they were small and they have been haunted by her absence ever since. Their father, Adam, a brilliant oceanographer, raised them mostly on his own in his remote home on Cape Cod, where the attachment between Ken and Abby deepened into something complicated—and as adults their relationship is strained. Now, years later, the siblings’ lives are still deeply entwined. Ken is a successful businessman with political ambitions and a picture-perfect family and Abby is a talented visual artist who depends on her brother’s goodwill, in part because he owns the studio where she lives and works.

As the novel opens, Adam is approaching his seventieth birthday, staring down his mortality and fading relevance. He has always managed his bipolar disorder with medication, but he’s determined to make one last scientific breakthrough and so he has secretly stopped taking his pills, which he knows will infuriate his children. Meanwhile, Abby and Ken are both harboring secrets of their own, and there is a new person on the periphery of the family—Steph, who doesn’t make her connection known. As Adam grows more attuned to the frequencies of the deep sea and less so to the people around him, Ken and Abby each plan the elaborate gifts they will present to their father on his birthday, jostling for primacy in this small family unit.

Set in the fraught summer of 2016, and drawing on the biblical tale of Cain and Abel, Little Monsters is an absorbing, sharply observed family story by a writer who knows Cape Cod inside and out—its Edenic lushness and its snakes.
Adrienne Brodeur is the author of the memoir Wild Game, which was selected as a Best Book of the Year by NPR and The Washington Post and is in development as a Netflix film. She founded the literary magazine Zoetrope: All-Story with Francis Ford Coppola, and currently serves as executive director of Aspen Words, a literary nonprofit and program of the Aspen Institute. She splits her time between Cambridge and Cape Cod, where she lives with her husband and children.
Product Details ISBN: 9781982198107
ISBN-10: 1982198109
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 27th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English
“Nobody describes the natural beauty of Cape Cod or the lovely, messy bonds of family better than Adrienne Brodeur. Little Monsters is an absolutely captivating read.” —Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author of The Hotel Nantucket 

“Gorgeously told, with psychological nuance to spare, Adrienne Brodeur’s latest fiction returns us to a world she knows by heart, wind-blown, wave-swept Cape Cod and the fraught, labyrinthine territory beneath the surface of family. This is the work of a seasoned and wonderfully wise storyteller. Brodeur is as masterfully attuned to the complex DNA of kindred secrets and high-risk loyalties as she is empathetic to the specifically tangled lives of the Gardner clan. We ultimately want for them what we want for ourselves, the freedom that comes with hard-won healing and truth telling, and the intimacy that waits if we’re brave enough to look back down the loaded barrel of love.” —Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife

Little Monsters is an elegant and ambitious novel, a family saga deeply rooted in the landscape of Cape Cod. Adrienne Brodeur writes about complicated, sometimes difficult people and the natural world they inhabit with lyrical precision and deep emotional intelligence.” —Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author of Tracy Flick Can't Win and Mrs. Fletcher 

“Adrienne Brodeur knows her way around a family drama. . . Brodeur weaves a story dense with stinging secrets and simmering resentments, rooted in another context that she knows well: the manicured towns and wild fringes of Cape Cod. . . Set against the island’s rippling dune grasses and scrub pines, [the] narrative is as elegantly rendered as it is compulsively readable.” Vogue

“Beautiful, lyrical and unvarnished, Adrienne Brodeur’s Little Monsters delivers its powerful emotional punches so subtly that they sneak up on you and leave you floored.” —Miranda Cowley Heller, New York Times bestselling author of The Paper Palace

“Who understands complicated family dynamics better than Adrienne Brodeur? Little Monsters is a gripping portrait of how we carry the past into the present, and how the boundaries of kinship blur and change over time.” —Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes 

“A compelling, earnest portrait of a family more fractured than its members realize… beautiful and heart-breaking.” —Shelf Awareness 

“Wrenching, psychologically complex, and emotionally satisfying, Little Monsters is an immersive pleasure. This sprawling, big-hearted family saga is about the lies we tell each other and ourselves that enable us to maintain alliances—and what happens when we start telling the truth.” —Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Train  

“Written with a palpable love for this family and their Cape Cod home, Little Monsters tackles family trauma, forgiveness, and toxic masculinity.” —Arianna Rebolini, Bustle

"Adrienne Brodeur brings to life, with her unerringly sharp eye, another complicated family, populated by brilliant, damaged characters who alternately love and drive each other crazy. Brodeur conveys an understanding of Cape Cod beyond the life of casual summer vacationers—a mysterious and beautiful coastal world where nature, not summer rentals, dominates in all its wonder—and of the demanding, infuriating patriarch who presides over the landscape. With rare compassion, she shows how it is possible to love the same people who may have hurt us most—and to forgive them their trespasses." —Joyce Maynard, New York Times bestselling author

"In Little Monsters, Adrienne Brodeur plunges into a multi-charactered family novel that is richly satisfying, like the best of meals, taking the reader into the heart of what Freud called 'the family romance,’ with all its complexities, evasions, buried guilts, forbidden passions and sibling rivalry. As sharply observant about her characters as she is of the landscape and seascape of Cape Cod, where they live, her novel is that rarest of things: a truly great read.” —Michael Korda, New York Times bestselling author

"I so admire the layered complexity of this beautiful novel about a flawed yet unforgettable family—the interlocking ironies and wounds and strivings for love and clarity and accomplishment and growth, all so deeply embedded in the lush natural world that is the Cape. Every character in this mesmerizing story is distinct and real, and I found myself rooting for them all."—Andre Dubus III, New York Times bestselling author of House of Sand and Fog

“Smart, funny and beautifully written. Brodeur is a brilliant dissector of family relationships, a lyricist of the natural world, and an astute observer of our inner turmoils.” —Monica Ali, bestselling author of Love Marriage

Praise for Wild Game

“Exquisite and harrowing . . . [Wild Game] is so gorgeously written and deeply insightful, and with a line of narrative tension that never slacks, from the first page to the last, that it’s one you’ll likely read in a single, delicious sitting.” New York Times Book Review 

"Wild Game is a memoir, but it reads very much like a novel with a first-person narrator, bringing readers closely into scenes with vivid sensual detail that paints the atmosphere with the adoring eyes of the enthralled daughter the author once was. Wild Game, for all its luscious prose and tantalizing elements, is ultimately about the slow and painful process of losing a mother." —NPR  

"This electrifying, gorgeously written memoir will hold you captive until the last word." People, “Book of the Week”

"Brodeur is a deft memoirist... In this stunning tale of treachery—unsettling yet seductive—we are led through some of the darkest and most alluring corridors of the human heart." —O, The Oprah Magazine 

"[A] vivid memoir…[Brodeur] writes beautifully, even tenderly, as a mother herself, aware of repercussions, knowing how it all ended." —BBC 

"Perhaps everyone has a memoir in them—but only some lives are instant and undeniable blockbusters. Adrienne Brodeur’s is one... Brodeur tells a story so extraordinary, so juicy, and so well that your only option is to buy copies for your friends, too...The miracle of Wild Game is that Brodeur’s writing is as incredible as her story. Brodeur captures the emotional gradations in a tense room as deftly as she establishes the sea salt air and elaborate dinners of her childhood...[Wild Game] will undeniably be the book club pick of 2019." —Refinery29

“Adrienne Brodeur’s breathless memoir starts off with a bang… Every single turn of this memoir is gripping…Brodeur’s descriptions of her mother read like a paramour waxing rhapsodic, the recollections of someone in inescapable thrall… In Wild Game, Brodeur shows us that what defines our lives is choosing just how bound we want to be." —San Francisco Chronicle

“Brodeur’s memoir has set both Hollywood and publishing ablaze.” —Entertainment Weekly