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Carousel Court: A Novel
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Published:
Simon & Schuster 2016
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Description
Joe McGinniss Jr., who is "poised to become one of our sharpest observers of life in America at the start of the twenty-first century" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), returns with one of the most engrossing, unnerving, and exhilarating novels in recent memory: a viscerally absorbing look at the seductive—and destructive—cutting edge of marriage.
Nick and Phoebe Maguire are a young couple who move cross-country to Southern California in search of a fresh start for themselves and their infant son following a trauma. But they arrive at the worst possible economic time, cemented into the dark heart of foreclosure alley and surrounded by neighbors swamped by debt who set fire to their belongings, flee in the dead of night, and eye one another with suspicion while keeping shotguns by their beds. Trapped, broke, and increasingly desperate, Nick and Phoebe each devise their own plan to claw their way back into the middle class and beyond. Hatched under one roof, their two separate, secret agendas will inevitably collide.

"A fearless novel about a family and a society on the brink...Harrowing but, against all odds, ultimately tender" (O, The Oprah Magazine), Carousel Court is an unforgettable vision of contemporary life. It has the ambition of our most serious literary work and the soul of a thriller, managing to be simultaneously sexy, scary, and powerfully moving. Most of all, it offers an unflinching portrait of modern marriage in a nation scarred by vanished jobs, psychotropic cure-alls, infidelity via iPhone, and ruthless choices. "Fast...Foreboding...Joe McGinniss spins an edgy tale, often laced with a reporter's eye for the little details that make characters pop" (The Washington Post). He leaves you simultaneously gutted and grateful—and curious what your partner is up to on that electronic device across the room.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/02/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781476791302
ASIN:
B0176M3WRW
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Joe McGinniss. (2016). Carousel Court: A Novel. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Joe McGinniss. 2016. Carousel Court: A Novel. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Joe McGinniss, Carousel Court: A Novel. Simon & Schuster, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Joe McGinniss. Carousel Court: A Novel. Simon & Schuster, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 19:44:58
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:49:59
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fullDescription
Joe McGinniss Jr., who is "poised to become one of our sharpest observers of life in America at the start of the twenty-first century" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), returns with one of the most engrossing, unnerving, and exhilarating novels in recent memory: a viscerally absorbing look at the seductive—and destructive—cutting edge of marriage.
Nick and Phoebe Maguire are a young couple who move cross-country to Southern California in search of a fresh start for themselves and their infant son following a trauma. But they arrive at the worst possible economic time, cemented into the dark heart of foreclosure alley and surrounded by neighbors swamped by debt who set fire to their belongings, flee in the dead of night, and eye one another with suspicion while keeping shotguns by their beds. Trapped, broke, and increasingly desperate, Nick and Phoebe each devise their own plan to claw their way back into the middle class and beyond. Hatched under one roof, their two separate, secret agendas will inevitably collide.

"A fearless novel about a family and a society on the brink...Harrowing but, against all odds, ultimately tender" (O, The Oprah Magazine), Carousel Court is an unforgettable vision of contemporary life. It has the ambition of our most serious literary work and the soul of a thriller, managing to be simultaneously sexy, scary, and powerfully moving. Most of all, it offers an unflinching portrait of modern marriage in a nation scarred by vanished jobs, psychotropic cure-alls, infidelity via iPhone, and ruthless choices. "Fast...Foreboding...Joe McGinniss spins an edgy tale, often laced with a reporter's eye for the little details that make characters pop" (The Washington Post). He leaves you simultaneously gutted and grateful—and curious what your partner is up to on that electronic device across the room.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 6, 2016
        In his first novel in a decade, McGinniss Jr. (The Delivery Man) paints a bleak portrait of America on the downslide. Nick and Phoebe Maguire left Boston after Phoebe narrowly avoided a tragedy involving their infant son, Jackson. Seeking a new start—Nick as a filmmaker for an Encino PR firm and Phoebe as a pharmaceutical rep—they move into Carousel Court, a subdivision in the Los Angeles suburb of Serenos, whose residents are leaving in droves, casualties of the burst housing bubble. When Nick’s job offer falls through, he signs on as a mover “trashing-out foreclosed homes” for an outfit called EverythingMustGo! The self-loathing Phoebe tiptoes the sharp edge of an addiction to prescription painkillers and an ill-concealed affair with JW, her demanding ex-boss, who jets in and out of the picture. The novel’s nearly 100 vignettes—many of them gems of concision and electric prose that lay bare the darker sides of Nick and Phoebe, as well as the handful of coworkers and eccentric neighbors who swirl down the drain with them—mirror the discontent seething just beneath the surface of an ersatz American dream. The broad brushstrokes painting Southern California in chaos are unnerving and propulsive in their own right, but McGinniss is at his best when describing, with anthropological intensity, the throes of a broken relationship.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from June 1, 2016
        A young couple's plan to flip a house in Southern California goes awry and old wounds in their marriage reopen in this dark novel of unrelenting tension.Nick and Phoebe are living in Boston when they notice other "young married professionals buying and selling houses for six-figure profits." But it's clear from the word "underwater" on the opening page that their dream is foundering. McGinniss (The Delivery Man, 2008) presents a smooth combination of present-time narrative and extensive flashbacks to reveal two lives wracked by more than just mortgage woes. Their marriage has been haunted by an affair Phoebe had with her mentor, JW, while on the fast track at a financial-services firm in Boston and an accident she had while "high on Klonopin" with their toddler in the car. Moving to California doesn't improve matters. Nick learns on the eve of heading west that his new job there has evaporated. In their LA suburb, housing prices quickly go south after the couple takes out a heavy mortgage and plows all their money into renovations. Nick finds work as a kind of repo man with other underwater homes. Phoebe is a rep for a drug firm while maintaining a steady high with Klonopin and wine. Then JW resurfaces and Phoebe hopes to use him to get back on the fast track and somehow fix the family. Doomed and doughty, she's a lexicon of contradictions, a kind of update on Maria Wyeth of Joan Didion's Play It as It Lays. McGinnis also recalls Nathanael West's Day of the Locusts in depicting their road, Carousel Court, as a catalog of strangeness and dangers: from coyotes and marauding home invaders to weird neighbors and crying, screaming cicadas. McGinniss covers familiar territory in the marketplace and marriage but injects it with an urgency, a sense of constant, inescapable threat that all adds up to a taut page-turner.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        August 1, 2016

        Nick and Phoebe Maguire, the troubled young married couple at the center of this fearless, harrowing novel about life in contemporary America, are overwhelmed by debt, trapped in jobs that are killing them, and surrounded by civic disorder and financial ruin. In some ways, this realistic contemporary novel reads more like a work of dystopian sf. Unfortunately, McGinniss (The Delivery Man) is talking about us, here and now. Neighbors are living in tents in their yards. Decent jobs have disappeared. Global warming has produced extreme heat. And the safety and economic stability of individual citizens has become frighteningly tenuous. Nick and Phoebe begin with the highest of hopes--ownership of an expensive home in Southern California. It is not long, however, before they are struggling to keep up with their mortgage and attempting to survive the pitiless realities of the modern work environment. Sadly, their young son spends most of his time with nannies and caregivers. VERDICT This heartbreaking novel about a broken family offers an unforgettable and disturbing vision of contemporary America. Recommended for fans of courageous, uncompromising literary fiction.--Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from June 1, 2016
        Nick and Phoebe Maguire are being crushed by the adjustable-rate mortgage on the house they intended to flip for a huge profit. The filmmaking job that brought Nick to California has disappeared, and he's working for a company that empties out foreclosed and abandoned homes. Beautiful, emotionally brittle Phoebe sells pharmaceuticals to doctors, but she's propping herself up with a salad of prescription drugs. Foreclosure is a month or two away. Their marriage is unraveling, and, without speaking about it, they each come up with separate, risky plans to make enough money to hold on to the house on Carousel Court. McGinniss (The Delivery Man, 2007) has written a powerful and almost unremittingly bleak novel that may have some readers recalling Yeats' poem The Second Coming. The novel's widening gyre is the 2008 economic collapse caused by banksters and mortgage companies. Curiously, no character vents about the perpetrators. McGinniss' Serenos, 40 miles east of Los Angeles, is a plausible Ground Zero for a society slouching toward Armageddon. Nature is going biblical: searing heat, threatening wildfires, emboldened coyotes, even a plague of cicadas afflict the town. And society is collapsing: home invasions are increasing, police helicopters roar low and fast over Carousel Court at all hours, and ordinary suburbanites are locked and loaded. Along with Yeats, there are echoes here of Martin Amis' similarly pre-apocalyptic London Fields (1990).(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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Nick and Phoebe Maguire are a young couple who move cross-country to Southern California in search of a fresh start for themselves and their infant son following a trauma. But they arrive at the worst possible economic time, cemented into the dark heart of foreclosure alley and surrounded by neighbors swamped by debt who set fire to their belongings, flee in the dead of night, and eye one another with suspicion while keeping shotguns by their beds. Trapped, broke, and increasingly desperate, Nick and Phoebe each devise their own plan to claw their way back into the middle class and beyond. Hatched under one...
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