Recent business school graduate Penny Baker has rebelled against her family her whole life - by being the conventional one. Her mother, Amalia, was a member of a South American tribe called the Kogi; her much older father, Norm, long ago attained cultlike deity status among a certain cohort of aging hippies while operating a psychedelic "healing center". And she's never felt particularly close to her much older half brothers from Norm's previous marriage. But all that changes when her father dies, and Penny inherits his childhood home in New Jersey.
Stillwater College in Virginia, 1966. Freshman Peggy, an ingénue with literary pretensions, falls under the spell of Lee, a blue-blooded poet and professor, and they begin an ill-advised affair that results in an unplanned pregnancy and marriage. The couple are mismatched from the start - she's a lesbian, he's gay - but it takes a decade of emotional erosion before Peggy runs off with their three-year-old daughter, leaving their nine-year-old son behind.
"Misbegotten, mishandled, misfired novel"
"Nell Zink is a writer of extraordinary talent and range. Her work insistently raises the possibility that the world is larger and stranger than the world you think you know." (Jonathan Franzen) Virginia, 1966. The motionless deeps of the lake outside Stillwater College are being ruffled. Lee, a blue-blooded poet and professor, is determinedly fondling Peggy, an ingénue freshman with literary pretensions, in his canoe. So begins a long affair, but the two are mismatched from the start.
Interlaken, Berne, 21st century. Several things happen after the car hits the rock. Tiff ceases to be pregnant. Stephen captures, like, the most wonderful bird - fleet, stealthy, and beautiful - a real "lifer". And the wallcreeper, the wallcreeper says "twee". The Wallcreeper is nothing more than a portrait of marriage, complete with all its requisite highs and lows: drugs, dubstep, small chores, anal sex, ecoterrorism, birding, breeding and feeding.
From the much acclaimed author of Mislaid and The Wallcreeper, a fierce and audaciously funny novel of families, both the ones we're born into and the ones we create - a story of obsession, idealism and ownership, centered around a young woman who inherits her bohemian late father's childhood home.