Crisis is looming for three generations of the Olyphant family.
In less than a year, Henrietta has lost her husband and nearly all of her money and is about to lose her hard-won anonymity. After a lifetime spent trying to outrun the humiliation her own book caused her, Henrietta has reluctantly agreed to a reissue of The Inseparables, the salaciously filthy and critically despised best seller she wrote decades earlier.
At the same time, her daughter, Oona, has moved back home to the house that Henrietta needs to sell. Oona is in the middle of a divorce from her husband, Spencer, a corporate-law refugee, stay-at-home dad, and unapologetic stoner. And Oona's teenage daughter, Lydia, away at boarding school, is facing an onslaught of scrutiny and shame when a nude photo of her goes viral.
The trouble only gets worse: Henrietta makes an upsetting discovery about her late husband, Oona embarks on a disastrous affair, and Lydia must deal with an ex-boyfriend who is determined to wreak havoc. Over the course of a few tumultuous days, the Olyphant women must come to terms with their past and try to reimagine their future.
Incisive, moving, and wickedly funny, The Inseparables examines what happens when our most carefully constructed ideas about our lives unravel, and we begin to reinvent ourselves - and our family - anew.
"Stuart Nadler's savage wit and incendiary insights mix in this brilliant, funny and deeply moving novel to give us a glimpse into the generational moment we're all living in. This is a novel about how our culture treats sex, and the lives - and rights - of women of any age." (Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night)
"It's an absorbing, well-crafted book, with all the story-telling virtues on display. It is atmospheric, thoughtful and mature, with characters whose fate arouses genuine curiosity. It is fiction of great integrity and vast promise." (Hilary Mantel)
"Nadler writes with tenderness and empathy.... The Inseparables feels urgent, but without losing its warmth and humor." (Daniel Johnson, The Paris Review)
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Thoughtful descriptions, but a little off.
While The Inseparables is well-written with a dizzying number of impressive words and historical/cultural references, I couldn't help but feel like that was the priority over plot. While the two older women seemed accurately portrayed, every chapter narrated by the teenager felt...off. She had the mind of a pretentious, self-indulgent twenty-something - not a fifteen year-old. And her cultural references were misplaced - a fifteen year-old in 2016 watching Julie Christie movies? The multiple references to R. Kelly music - it just didn't fit. Ultimately, not enough happened inside of or to any character and I was not invested in them - so much so that I stopped listening with 30 minutes left - I've never done that before.
The older women characters worked, but every time it toggled back to the teenager, I was reminded that this was written by someone who has never been a teenage girl.
The Henrietta narrator had a lovely voice when she was speaking as Henrietta, but every male character was loud, obnoxious, and heavily accented in the exact same way. The Oona narrator was pleasant.When a reader/listener doesn't like a character, it is difficult to separate the writing from the narrator, but the Lydia narrator sounded oddly juvenile in contrast to the thoughts she was having - and read the sentences very slowly, a little too precious.
- Rebecca Tierney