In her first novel since Other Women (published five years ago), Lisa Alther returns to the wonderfully comic and moving tone that made her reputation in her first best-selling and widely acclaimed novel, Kinflicks. And just as that novel charted a rite of passage - from childhood to adulthood in the sixties and seventies - Bedrock tells the high-spirited, hilarious, and deeply felt story of a mature woman (Clea survived the sixties and seventies and thinks she has a handle on the eighties) discovering and then plunging headlong into new emotional, and physical, territory.
When Clea Shawn - passionately urban, a successful photographer, mother of two college-age children, partner in a very open marriage - falls in love with a small Vermont town and impulsively buys a house there, no one is more surprised than she. But after years of empty affairs, her children gone from the nest, her marriage less exciting than exacting, and menopause setting in, Clea sees Ruches Ridge as her "detox tank," the place where she can finally cultivate the sobriety and serenity that will see her into "old age and beyond"...
Then her bathtub falls through the floor and her neighbors (the children are all named after synthetic fabrics) reveal their tendency toward loud noises, bright lights, and bug zappers deep into the night. Picture-perfect Ruches Ridge begins to reveal its imperfections and true character, and Clea - suffering withdrawal from the city, not yet at home in the increasingly odd countryside - feels compelled to wonder about the true character of her own life.
As her past unfolds in a series of flashbacks we watch her move toward an understanding of the real cost of her mutually adulterous marriage, the real impulse behind the invariably pretty and popular photographs she takes, and, most importantly, the real nature of her complex, often tumultuous feelings for her best - and most difficult - friend, Elke. And her newly adopted hometown reveals itself more and more clearly (it is full of surprises), we see Clea adjusting, settling in, accepting, and finally finding, in both her past and present circumstances, the bedrock on which to build the rest of her life.
Generous, sharp-edged, and altogether involving, Bedrock is Lisa Alther at her best.
"Without ever diminishing the humor, Lisa Alther has managed the difficult feat of using the nuttiness in our society as a counterpoint to an examination of love in all its varieties and durations."
- WOMEN'S REVIEW OF BOOKS
"An intensely funny exploration of the female psyche and its outward bounds...with an exceptional capacity to amuse and disturb."
- LONDON LIST
"One of the funniest madhouses around."
- WASHINGTON POST
“Alther is a savage comic genius.”
- JANE MARCUS, THE NATION