12 August 2009

Mercury in Retrograde by Paula Froelich

Flap Copy from ARC: "In this debut novel, the lives of three women intersect when they each decide to move into the same SoHo apartment building. Penelope Mercury is an intrepid reporter at the New York Telegraph who spends her days pounding the pavement in every borough to meet the unreasonable demands of her boss. She aspires to covering courtroom drama for the paper, but on one disastrous day, instead of being promited, she gets fired. Lena 'Lipstick Carcrash' Lippencrass is an Upper East Side socialite who works at the high fashion magazine Y and loses her perfect apartment after her wealthy parents cut her off from her trust fund. And Dana Gluck is a corporate lawyer on the verge of becoming a partner who has seen her marriage and prospects for motherhood disappear, leaving her almost comatose with depression.

As these three very different women become friends, they soon discover that having their carefully planned lives fall to pieces might have been the best thing that could have ever happened to them."

Despite a mildly formulaic feel and a very happy but a little too pat ending, I was surprised at how thoroughly I enjoyed reading this book. Three down-on-their-luck women end up in the same SoHo apartment building and rebuild their lives largely through their helpful and often hilarious interactions with one another. Each character is well-conceived and carefully drawn, and watching them wrestle with personal and professional failures (and eventually successes!)was made highly engaging by Froelich's strong and confident prose. This book is definitely worth the read, and proves that even when the stars are aligned against you, anything can happen.

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