I remember exactly where I sat reading Emma Straub’s THE VACATIONERS two years ago. I remember because it was a one-day read that unfolded like a great escape. Thus I looked forward to getting my hands on MODERN LOVERS, which provided me that same experience.
Here we have three former bandmates from Oberlin (their band was called Kitty’s Mustache) --- Elizabeth, Andrew and Zoe --- locked into a friendship that has matured from their college days, but still carries lots of the baggage and history that come from longtime friendships. Set in Brooklyn, Elizabeth has married Andrew, and Zoe has married Jane. Each couple has bought homes, started businesses and built a family life, which feels oh-so-mature. But at the same time, each of the characters is caught up in some level of midlife crisis drama. Andrew, the trust fund baby, is lost; Elizabeth is selling real estate but is missing her artistic side; and Zoe and Jane are going through marital woes, something that married lesbian couples get to experience as a by-product of exercising their right to marry. I knew someone was going to mine this last plot thread for a novel.
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