Claudia and Jeremy, a young married couple (she’s an aspiring filmmaker, he’s an indie musician), are on the verge of making it. Her first film was a sensation at Sundance and is about to have its theatrical release; he’s assembled a new band and is a few songs shy of an album. They’ve recently purchased their first home—a mid-century bungalow with a breathtaking view of Los Angeles—with the magical assistance of an adjustable-rate mortgage. But a series of seismic events—the tanking of Claudia’s film, the return of Jeremy’s manipulative ex-girlfriend, and the staggering adjustment of their monthly mortgage payments—deal a crushing blow to their dreams of the bohemian life and their professional aspirations and make them question their values and their shared vision of the future.
Married 30-something artists Claudia and Jeremy Munger are the unlucky anchors of Brown's shaky sophomore novel, an of-the-moment time capsule in the mold of her well-received All We Ever Wanted Was Everything. Claudia is a filmmaker whose first feature is about to be released; Jeremy is a musician on the brink of mainstream success; together they are living in boho splendor in a newly purchased L.A. bungalow. But when Claudia's film bombs, Jeremy's band breaks up, their adjustable rate mortgage balloons, and Jeremy's famous painter ex-girlfriend, Aoki, comes back on the scene, the Mungers' sense of themselves is harshly tested. The gauntlets the Mungers face verge on Kafkaesque, yet the novel proceeds with painful earnestness. Particularly detracting are the one-note supporting characters: Jeremy and Claudia's parents, an annoying roommate, the corpulent potential producer of Claudia's next film. Aoki, meanwhile, plays a pivotal role but is burdened with a heavy load of temperamental artist clich s. There are lovely small moments Claudia's awkward run-in with a former student, for instance that give hope that the undeniably talented author will find her footing again after this flawed effort.