Long-listed for the NBCC's John Leonard Prize
This extraordinary debut novel by Sophie McManus is a contemporary American tragedy of breathtaking scope: a dramatic story of pharmaceutical trials and Wall Street corruption; of pride and prejudice; of paranoia and office politics; of inheritance, influence, class, and power.
Cecilia Somner's fate hangs in the balance. A larger-than-life heiress to a robber baron's fortune, once known as much for her cruel wit as for her tremendous generosity, CeCe is now in opulent decline. Afflicted with a rare disease and touched by mortality for the first time, she finds her gilded, by - gone values colliding with an unforgiving present. Along with her troubled son, George, and his out - sider wife, Iris, CeCe must face the Somners' dark legacy and the corrupting nature of wealth. As the Somner family struggles to find a solution to its troubles, the secrets and lies between CeCe, George, and Iris grow entangled. CeCe's world topples, culminating in a startling turn of events that is as unforgettable as it is life-changing.
While no riches can put things right for the unfortunate Somners, when all is lost, they learn what life beyond the long, shimmering shadow cast by the Somner dynasty may become. Sophie McManus' "The Unfortunates," hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, is most of all a meditation on love: as delusional obsession, as transformation, and ultimately as a coming to grace.
About the Author
SOPHIE McMANUS was born in New York City, and she received her BA from Vassar College and her MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Saltonstall Foundation, and the Jentel Foundation. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Memorious, and Tin House, among other publications. She teaches writing in Brooklyn, New York. The Unfortunates is her first book.