The Stager: A Novel by Susan CollThe Stager: A Novel by Susan Coll

The Stager: A Novel

bySusan Coll

Paperback | July 7, 2015

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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.

Susan Coll is the Events and Programs Director at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. She is the author of the novels Beach Week, Acceptance, Rockville Pike, and karlmarx.com. Acceptance was made into a television movie starring Joan Cusack in 2009. She lives in Washington, D.C.
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Title:The Stager: A NovelFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:288 pages, 8.62 × 5.52 × 0.79 inShipping dimensions:8.62 × 5.52 × 0.79 inPublished:July 7, 2015Publisher:PicadorLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250069378

ISBN - 13:9781250069375

Reviews

Bookclub Guide

A comedy about rabbits and real estate from the acclaimed novelist Susan Coll, The Stager chronicles one family's surreal descent into madness and discord as they attempt to sell their faux "Flemish villa." It's not that they ever loved the house; it's a bloated cruise ship of a McMansion in a soulless suburban enclave, and it's infused with a bad smell. The family's pet rabbit, Dominique, doesn't much like the place either; he's been slowly destroying the house, gnawing on furniture and eating holes in the carpet. When he sees an opportunity to escape, his owner, ten-year-old Elsa, begins to unravel, alarming her parents, who are in London preparing the move into the family's new house.While the parents-a former tennis pro who has now become obese and addicted to an alphabet soup of prescription drugs, and his beautiful investment banker wife-are overseas, a professional home stager, Eve Brenner, is set loose in the house. Eve understands the quick, shallow cosmetic fixes that make a house desirable to a new owner. But when she steps into the foyer, she immediately understands that she should not be here. She recognizes objects of emotional significance that pull her into the past, and into a rabbit hole of emotional treachery that she can neither disguise nor escape.As questions of sobriety, sanity, and fidelity arise, the rabbit emerges as the voice of reason, bringing a sparkling and hilarious conclusion to Coll's portrait of consumption and cutthroat careerism.We hope that the following discussion topics will enrich your tour of The Stager's elegant manse and its wickedly funny inhabitants.

Editorial Reviews

"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