As we in Park Slope breathlessly await the release of Motherland, Amy Sohn’s sequel to her bestselling Prospect Park West, Nancy McDermott has published a positive review of the book in Spiked, a British website. McDermott gives the book high praise for its readability and satire: “Motherland is both lightning-fast beach reading and well-observed social satire. Though the book won’t last the summer, Rebecca Rose and company will stay with you well into the autumn.”
McDermott, a moderator on Park Slope Parents before she moved to rural Upstate New York, is an excellent writer and a cogent thinker on the culture of parenting in contemporary society. I love her blogs, The Brown House Years and The Parenting Mystique (Why America is Obsessed with Raising Kids). Here’s an excerpt from her review. Do read the rest of Park Slope Parents Behaving Badly on Spiked.
“Motherland is the sequel to Prospect Park West, Amy Sohn’s hyperrealist novel set in Park Slope, Brooklyn. In the first book of the series, Sohn used a mix of real and imagined people and events to explore the excesses of modern urban parenting culture. In Motherland, she revisits many of same themes and characters, but this novel is not so much about new parenthood as midlife crisis, two life events which, for the first time in history, are tending to occur around the same time.”
It seems that across the pond, they’ve discovered that Brooklyn is quite the writerly place. I guess when Brit author Martin Amis buys a house in Cobble Hill, it becomes news over there. I did, however, enjoy the Guardian article and especially this paragraph, which reminded me of what happened when Jonathan and Nicole spent 3.5 million on their house. That sounds like chump change these days.
“Today Sunny’s is popular for bluegrass sessions and literary salons that attract aficionados from across the borough. There is not a night of the week when you can’t attend a reading in Brooklyn, or several. Many take place at the independent bookstores that have proliferated in the last few years, or – like BookCourt in Cobble Hill, where I remember waiting in a long line of young tattooed men and women to hear Bret Easton Ellis read – doubled in size. And writers aren’t just coming here to read; they are flocking here to live. Some, such as Paul Auster, have been here for decades; others, like Martin Amis (a stone’s throw from BookCourt), are fresh off the boat. On Saturdays you can go Pulitzer spotting at Fort Greene’s farmers’ market, where both Jhumpa Lahiri and Jennifer Egan may be found perusing the vegetables. When Jonathan Safran Foer and his wife Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love, brought a Park Slope townhouse in 2005, bloggers gasped at the $3.5m [£2.26m] price tag.”
I was one of those bloggers and I remember it well. Rad photo illustration from The Guardian.