Warren Ziller moved his family to Southern
California in search of a charmed life, and to all appearances, he
found it: a gated community not far from the beach, amid the affluent
splendor of the 1980s. But the Zillers' American dream is about to be
rudely interrupted. Warren has squandered their savings on a bad real
estate investment, which he conceals from his wife, Camille, who
misreads his secrecy as a sign of an affair. Their children, Dustin,
Lyle, and Jonas, have grown as distant as satellites, too busy with
their own betrayals and rebellions to notice their parents' distress.
When tragedy strikes, the Zillers are forced to move to Warren's
abandoned housing development in the desert. In this comically bleak
new home, each must reckon with what's led them there and who's to
blame—and whether they can summon the forgiveness needed to hold the
With penetrating insights into modern life and an uncanny eye for
everyday absurdities, Eric Puchner delivers a wildly funny,
heartbreaking, and thoroughly original portrait of an American family.
About The Author
Eric Puchner is an assistant professor of
literature at Claremont McKenna College. He has received a Pushcart
Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. His short story
collection, Music Through the Floor, was a finalist for the NY
Public Library's Young Lions Award. He lives in Los Angeles with his
wife, novelist Katharine Noel, and their children.
"Puchner is an extraordinarily talented writer... a master of mood and tone, able to make moments of pure hilarity follow heartbreak with the seamlessness of real life." --Boston Globe "Puchner's well-constructed tale of a house of pain built on a foundation of secrets echoes Updike and Easton Ellis." --People magazine, 4 stars "The only conclusion to come to after reading this novel is that Eric Puchner is a massive talent...Each character is perfectly drawn and deeply interesting. Go read this book." --McSweeney's