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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Summer 2018

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The Misfortune of Marion Palm
A Novel
By (author): Emily Culliton
9780525432623 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Family Life / General Jun 26, 2018
$21.95 CAD
Active 5.2 x 8 x 0.69 in 304 pages Vintage
A wildly entertaining debut in the vein of Maria Semple and Maggie Shipstead, about a Brooklyn Heights woman who embezzles a small fortune from her children’s private school, skewering bourgeois ideals and subverting our expectations of motherhood.

Marion Palm prefers not to think of herself as a thief but rather “a woman who embezzles.” Over the years she has managed to steal $180,000 from her daughters’ private school, money that has paid for European vacations, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, and perpetually unused state-of-the-art exercise equipment. But now, when the school faces an audit, Marion pulls piles of rubber-banded cash from their basement hiding places and flees, leaving her family to grapple with the baffled detectives, the irate school board, and the mother-shaped hole in their house. Told from the points of view of Nathan, Marion’s husband, heir to a long-diminished family fortune; Ginny, Marion’s teenage daughter who falls helplessly in love at the slightest provocation; Jane, Marion’s youngest who is obsessed with a missing person of her own; and Marion herself, on the lam—and hiding in plain sight.

HARDCOVER ACCLAIM: Beginning with starred reviews from nearly every trade publication, the novel then landed on Entertainment Weekly’s “20 Books to Read This Summer.” It was also featured in People magazine’s summer reads and on the Betches Love This summer reading list.

FAMILY FORTUNE: As we saw with the runaway success of Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, readers love the schadenfreude of a trust fund diminished and the family dysfunction that inevitably follows.

BAD MOMS: Our culture has a fascination with mothers behaving badly, as evidenced by the success of Where’d You Go, Bernadette. This modern, comical caper will appeal to fans of paperback bestselling authors like Maria Semple, as well as Jami Attenberg and Emma Straub.

PERFECT FOR READING GROUPS: Did we mention that this summer paperback will be perfect for reading groups?

EMILY CULLITON is a PhD candidate at the University of Denver for fiction and earned her MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Essays & Fictions, The Seattle Review, Two Serious Ladies, and the Chicago Quarterly Review. She was born and raised in Brooklyn.

Author Residence: Denver, CO and Brooklyn, NY

Author Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

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Author Social Media: Twitter @cullitone

“A witty, sneakily feminist kind of crime story…. Half of the delight in Emily Culliton’s wholly delightful debut novel, The Misfortune of Marion Palm, lies in the way the book, like its title character, defies expectations at every turn…. There’s satire in the notion of a female thief hampered by beauty culture and the patriarchy, to be sure. But it’s a more textured, complicated satire…. Chafing against the roles that society has prescribed for her but uncertain what role to occupy instead, [Marion] joins a parade of recent literary antiheroines—not just Bernadette Fox but Amy Dunne in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Elyria Marcus in Catherine Lacey’s Nobody Is Ever Missing, Lena and Lila in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series—who are casting about, sometimes wildly, for ways to redefine and reinvent what it means to be a woman in the world. As with Marion, we can only hope they get away with it.”—Gregory Cowles, The New York Times Book Review

“Talk about getting away from it all. Marion Palm has pocketed $180,000 from her daughters’ school coffers and gone on the lam, no disguise necessary. ’A homely woman,’ she thinks to herself, ’is an invisible thing.’ But what is her plan, and is she ever coming back? A whip-smart, thoroughly original debut.”—People magazine, “Summer’s Best Books”

“If you love scandals and mystery…then you’ll love The Misfortune of Marion Palm.”—Olivia Betchson, Betches Love This: “The Best Books to Read While You Tan: The Betches Summer 2017 Reading List”

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