A keen and brilliant observer of the strangeness that is American suburbia. Acampora joins the ranks of writers like John Cheever and Tom Perrotta in her incisive portrait of lives intersecting in one Connecticut town
The Wonder Garden
978-0-8021-2481-4 • $16.00 • Paperback • Feb. 2016
An Amazon Book of the Month
John likes to arrive first. He enjoys standing quietly with a house before his clients arrive, and today, although he feels pinned beneath an invisible weight, he resolves to savor this solitary moment. It’s one of those overhauled ranches so common to Old Cranbury these days, swollen and dressed to resemble a colonial. White, of course, with ornamental shutters and latches pretending to hold them open. A close echo of its renovated sisters on Whistle Hill Road, garnished with hostas and glitzed with azaleas. He has seen too many of these to count . . .
A man strikes an under-the-table deal with a surgeon to spend a few quiet seconds closer to his wife than he’s ever been; a young soon-to-be mother looks on in paralyzing astonishment as her husband walks away from a twenty-year career in advertising at the urging of his spirit animal; an elderly artist risks more than he knows when he’s commissioned by his newly arrived neighbors to produce the work of a lifetime.
In her stunning debut The Wonder Garden, Lauren Acampora gathers with enchanting realism the myriad lives of a suburban town and lays them bare. These intricately interwoven stories take a trenchant look at the flawed people of Old Cranbury, the supposedly ordinary lives they lead, and the secrets they try so desperately to hide. Acampora’s characters are neighbors, lovers, friends, who, beneath their dreamy suburban surface, are nothing like they appear. These incisive tales reveal at each turn the unseen battles we play out behind drawn blinds, the creeping truths from which we distract ourselves, and the massive dreams we haul quietly with us and hold close.
Deliciously creepy and masterfully choreographed, The Wonder Garden heralds the arrival of a phenomenal new talent in American fiction.