by Maria Semple
Category: Fiction / General
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 7 June 2012
Number of pages: 336
Prizes: Shortlisted for Women's Prize for Fiction 2013.
Shortlisted for Women's Prize for Fiction 2013.
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she's his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife. To fellow mothers at the school gate, she's a menace. To design experts, she's a revolutionary architect. And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum. Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her. Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a compulsively readable, irresistibly written, deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's place in the world.
What the papers say:
Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette is the book that comes closest to matching Jonathan Safran Foer's 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'. It's the highly charged story of a high achieving child, her genius Microsoft star employee father and her reclusive award-winning mother Bernadette. The family trip to Antarctica may well be their undoing. This is a hilarious novel with undoubtedly the pushiest parents ever captured in ink -- Patrick Neale, Jaffe & Neale Bookshop THE BOOKSELLER Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is an innovative comic novel. The eponymous Bernadette was once a great architect but has fallen into a cycle of agoraphobia and misanthropy in Seattle. She is a bitter character who despises most other people but she's actually quite charismatic. I found myself rooting for her, which is testament to Semple's accomplished style and characterisation -- Ruth Hunter, Bertrams THE BOOKSELLER The characters in Bernadette may be in real emotional pain, but Semple has the wit and perspective and imagination to make their story hilarious. I tore through this book with heedless pleasure -- Jonathan Franzen Where'd You Go, Bernadette is fresh and funny and accomplished, but the best thing about it was that I never had any idea what was going to happen next. It was a wild ride... Kate Atkinson A fresh, flamboyantly witty new voice Helen Fielding A delightfully funny book, that constantly catches one by surprise, Where'd You Go, Bernadette combines a shrewdly observed portrait of Seattle life with, of all things, a mysterious disappearance in Antarctica. A pleasure Matthew Kneale, author of English Passengers Maria Semple dissects the gory complexities of familial dysfunction with a deft and tender hand. Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a triumph of social observation and black comedy by a skillful chronicler of moneyed malaise. Patrick de Witt, author of The Sisters Brothers In this funny, clever book, notorious architectural genius Bernadette disappears and it's up to her daughter Bee to find her. One to watch this summer ESSENTIALS magazine A funny, flamboyant portrait of a flawed heroine's attempts to fit in MARIE CLAIRE An absorbing and witty book STAR magazine If you loved the humour of A Visit From The Goon Squad, pack this sharp, witty novel... we love the way the story is told through a series of emails and memos, and applaud its message that everyone is a bit mad, no matter what they look like. A fabulously kooky tale from one of the writers of TV's Arrested Development EASY LIVING Despite its underlying despair, this is no neurotic gloomfest, but a clever, witty page-turner with sparkling dialogue, some hilarious episodes and a heart that gradually melts You magazine, MAIL ON SUNDAY Bernadette Fox was a visionary architect, now she's a recluse, and when she goes missing, daughter Bee must track her down. Don't miss this funny debut from SNL scriptwriter Maria Semple GRAZIA Maria Semple's deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's place in the world. A seriously compulsive read STYIST magazine Where'd You Go, Bernadette is constructed from a collection of self-absorbed perspectives, and Maria Semple ensures each expertly pitched voice is both target and author of its own satire. In what is at times a sad and painful tale about family dysfunction, black comedy waylays sentimentality. Semple's second novel is a witty, thrilling adventure about creation, destruction, the Antarctic - and the maternal bond THE OBSERVER Semple is a TV comedy writer, and the pleasures of Where'd You Go, Bernadette are the pleasures of the best American TV: plot, wit and heart... It's rather refreshing to find a female misunderstood genius at the heart of a book...In her spiky but essentially feelgood universe, failure and self-exposure open up a rich seam of comedy, but shame can always be vanquished by love THE GUARDIAN You'd expect something fresh and funny from a writer who once penned scripts for Ellen and this does not disappoint... Dazzlingly original and entertaining RED magazine extremely funny, often laugh-out-loud so... with her penchant for unexpected twists and smart jet-propelled dialogue, Semple has a way of combining a technologically savvy, ice-cool wit with a stealthy ability to show gradually a character's warmer side -- Tom Cox THE SUNDAY TIMES as sharp as lemon juice -- Wendy Holden DAILY MAIL I have hardly stopped raving about this since I read it, back in the Spring...Funny poignant and pointed, think Jennifer Egan's Goon Squad rewritten by Tina Fey and you get the picture. Without doubt, my book of the year. -- Sam Baker, editor of RED magazine www.redonline.co.uk heart-warming, life-affirming novel of the year -- Polly Vernon THE TIMES delightfully weird... Fast-paced and hilarious, every sinewy plot twist will take you by surprise and have you laughing out loud PA LIFE magazine Laugh-out-loud funny and bitingly satirical DAILY EXPRESS The funniest book I've read in a decade. I laughed to the point of crying on an airplane. My wife thought I'd lost my mind until she read it a few days later John Green best-selling author of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS a breathtakingly original comedy ES MAGAZINE a novel full of honesty and heart CNN an invigorating, hilarious, addictive ride of a novel -- Maggie O'Farrell
Maria Semple worked in Los Angeles as a television writer for 15 years, working on hit shows including Ellen, Saturday Night Live, Mad About You and Arrested Development. She lives in Seattle.
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