“A juice box of suburban satire laced with Alfred Hitchcock” (The Washington Post)—a novel of art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle • New York Observer • Huffington Post • The Millions • Nylon • Vulture • Bustle
High in the Hollywood Hills, Lady Daniels has separated from her husband. She’s going to need help with their toddler son if she’s going to finish the memoir she can’t stand writing. From a Craigslist ad, she hires S, a magnetic young artist, to live in the guesthouse behind the pool, take care of Lady’s young son, and keep an eye on her older, teenage one. S performs her job beautifully and quickly draws the entire family into her orbit—but she isn’t exactly who she seems. As Lady and S grow closer, old secrets and new betrayals come to light, jeopardizing what they hold most dear.
Praise for Woman No. 17
“Woman No. 17 is propulsive and moving, and considers vital questions with empathy and sly intelligence. . . . A winning novel. ”—The New York Times Book Review
“Lepucki’s exploration of personal relationships takes on an increasingly noirish tone: Much like Chekhov’s gun, a swimming pool introduced early in the book takes on the shadows of a floating body long before the reader realizes this might be a possibility.”—Elle
“Edan Lepucki’s Woman No. 17 is part family melodrama, part twisty self-reflection. . . . Very funny.”—GQ
“While Woman No. 17 does possess all the trappings of a frothy page-turner—stormy arguments, showy melodrama, and (oops!) an affair—there are some quiet, serious moments, too. It’s the intersection between the two that makes this read both scintillating and thought-provoking.”—San Francisco Chronicle
A newly-separated writer hires a mysterious young artist as a live-in nanny in this engaging examination of modern art and family dynamics. After unexpectedly asking her husband Karl to move out, Lady enlists the enchanting S to help care for her toddler, Devin, as well as keep an eye on Seth, her mute teenage son from an earlier marriage. As alternating narration quickly reveals, S is a fake name, a front for her real reason for applying for the job. Most of the novel concerns the complicated family situations of Lady and S, primarily Lady's fraught relationship with Kit, her famous photographer sister-in-law. The book takes its title from a suggestive photo that Kit once took of Lady, a piece of art whose significance informs everything from S's mother's alcoholism to Lady's estrangement from Seth's biological father. The disclosure of an affair forces each character to reckon with how they've deceived both themselves and one another. Lepucki's (California) brisk style and arresting characterizations make for a compelling portrait of womanhood in the present moment, right down to its intriguing integration of social media.