The Writing Circle
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"You find you simply can't put it down. This is a wonderful book, tense, engaging, and highly recommended."
--Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
"The exurbanite culture and cultured chums Demas evokes have a charmed staying power."
"Fascinating . . . gives readers a seat in the writing world."
--Sacramento Book Review
"An amazingly clever novel with depth, drama, and warmth."
--Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot's Wife
They call themselves the Leopardi Circle--six members of a writing group who share much more than their works in progress.
When Nancy, whose most recently published work is a medical newsletter, is asked to join a writing group made up of established writers, she accepts, warily. She's not at all certain that her novel is good enough for the company she'll be keeping. Her novel is a subject very close to her heart, and she isn't sure she wants to share it with others, let alone the world. But Nancy soon finds herself as caught up in the group's personal lives as she is with their writing. She learns that nothing--love, family, loyalty--is sacred or certain.
In the circle there's Gillian, a beautiful, scheming, world-famous poet; Bernard, a pompous but lovable biographer; Virginia, a respected historian and the peacemaker of the group, who also happens to be Bernard's ex-wife; Chris, a divorced father and successful thriller writer; and Adam, the youngest of the group, an aspiring novelist who is infatuated with Gillian. And then there's Nancy, an unassuming fiction writer embarking on a new chapter in her own life. They meet to read their work aloud and offer feedback. Over the course of a year, marriages are tested, affairs begin, and trust is broken.
Through their complicated relationships, these eccentric characters share their families, their beds, and their histories, and soon find that buried secrets have a way of coming to light. Hearts break and emotions are pushed to the limit in this richly engaging tale of love, betrayal, and literature.
under the sink. The only thing to do, she decided, was to close the door to the kitchen and camp out in the study. She’d have to go to town to buy food, but she could wait for that until morning. She had an apple in the car; that would get her through till then. She stood up slowly and forced herself to go back inside the house. She closed the kitchen door without looking inside. From the phone in the study, she called Jerry. She expected to get his voice mail, and she did, but she had been
was pulling the world together for his readers. His take on things was there on people’s doorsteps the next morning. And every news item was followed by another. Everything was always new. It was only after the publication of the book of articles that the evanescence of newspapers began to depress him. A brilliant series he’d done on rural poverty (a series that should have won a Pulitzer) ended up in the recycling bin along with everything else. On newsprint it was no different from the weekly
mother was a teacher, too, an art teacher, but that wasn’t seen to be a disappointment to her parents. Nancy wasn’t sure if that’s because expectations were different if you were a woman or if it was because her mother’s family wasn’t Greek. But while her father was content with what he did, in fact treated it like a calling, teaching seemed a job Nancy’s mother had settled for. There was a restlessness about her. She wanted something more than teaching—she wanted a career as an artist. She
with Teddy, and even when she’d been pregnant with Peachie, who had been a runt. When Peachie had called him to tell him she was pregnant, he’d had a moment’s pause. He had not yet fully accustomed himself to the idea that his little daughter was an adult, that she was married. “That’s just grand!” he had told Peachie. But all he could think was, How had this happened? How had all those years gone by so fast? And if Peachie was a mother, that would make him a grandfather. Him, a grandfather!
“You made it sound as if you thought I might think myself too important to come to a reunion. Me, important! So to prove to you how ridiculous that notion was, here I am.” Virginia raised her hand in emphasis, and the silver bangles on her wrist slid down and settled in a clump on the fatter part of her arm. “I’m glad,” said Joe. “Besides,” said Virginia, “I had to see what became of you.” “I went to graduate school in history,” said Joe. “I ended up selling mattresses.” He had flattened the