The Stager: A Novel (Paperback)
A New York Times Book Review and Chicago Tribune Editors' Choice
As a stager, Eve Brenner orchestrates the quick cosmetic fixes that make a house desirable to a prospective buyer. But when she steps into the home of an investment banker and her tennis-star husband, the Stager realizes that she knows too much about one of the house's occupants: The wife, beautiful and brilliant Bella, was once her best friend.
While Bella's life has followed a steady upward trajectory, Eve's has unraveled-and she isn't the only one struggling with Bella's success. Lars Jorgenson was a handsome Wimbledon finalist when he first met his wife. Now he is depressed, obese, and slowly coming undone on prescription medications. Their ten-year-old daughter, Elsa, is dealing with multiple losses: her parents are preparing to move the family overseas, her rabbit has run away, and she soon will be separated from her beloved nanny. Lonely and vulnerable, she bonds with the Stager while her parents are away assessing the family's next home-and forges a new friendship that gives everyone cause for concern. A dark comedy of real estate and rabbits, The Stager questions matters of friendship, family, and loyalty to hilarious effect.
“The Stager is great fun, and Coll proves herself as shrewd a social anthropologist as she is a buoyant writer.” —Meghan Daum, The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“Hilarious ... Throughout this antic tale, Coll shows us what happens to people when they don't feel heard or seen, when they wind up walking around as human versions of a house that's been carefully denuded of the things that made it warm and welcoming-that made it a home.” —Julie Klam, The Washington Post
“Fun to read, and smart-but not snarky...Susan Coll doesn't so much skewer her characters as reveal them.” —Chicago Tribune
“Sometimes a book just takes you by the hand and swings you deliriously in a new dance-that is The Stager, Susan Coll's brilliant comic novel.... I loved it.” —Cathleen Schine, author of Fin & Lady and The Three Weissmanns of Westport
“Already the viciously funny book… is being categorized alongside Maria Semple's 2012 bestseller, Where'd You Go, Bernadette?” —Ellen McCarthy, The Washington Post
“Wry metaphors of suburban rot abound.... [this is] the work of a very good comic novelist. . . .Chuck your attachment to rationality and cheerfully follow Coll down the rabbit hole.” —The Washingtonian
“Overgrown houses, failed planned communities, and a consumerist culture contrast with the stager's efforts to declutter and sterilize in this offbeat social satire. Coll takes on marriage, friendship, and fidelity to dark-comic effect. ” —Booklist
“Coll (Beach Week, 2010, etc.) ratchets up the level of wit and mean edginess in her newest satire. . . Coll's vicious depiction of upper-upper-middle-class suburbia is often excruciatingly funny.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[Coll] mines a darker brand of humor.” —Publishers Weekly
“Funny and biting suburban farce” —Library Journal
“Dark, luminous, and hilarious, The Stager draws its radiant power from the great time-tested themes: love, betrayal, and the redemptive power of rabbits. At the height of her powers, Susan Coll reveals her mastery of the wry and delicious line, of the bizarre and tender moment--and of hope.” —Dylan Landis, author of Normal People Don't Live Like This
“What a delight to follow Susan Coll on her tour of one family's surreal unraveling. Sly and wise, Coll is a stager extraordinaire, allowing us to peer behind the curtain of suburban success and excess. I loved this novel's wild wit. Now I want to adopt the Jorgenson family's precocious kid--and their stoned rabbit.” —Lisa Zeidner, author ofLove Bomb