When 15-year old Thea's math-genius boyfriend, Cam, mysteriously vanishes from their upstate New York town, the weirdness is just beginning. The FBI gets involved. The stars on the school flag go missing. Then intimate videos of Cam and Thea start going viral online - videos they never took. Cam claimed to be the world's foremost hacker...is he trying to reach her, send her a sign-or is Thea losing her mind?
"Eldridge’s debut is a mind-bending blend of innovative science fiction and a stream-of-conscious writing style."
Joyce, the foul-mouthed and wildly successful curator of a controversial art exhibit on surveillance, who unexpectedly finds herself under surveillance—in her own bedroom.
Her best friend, Bobbie, a gynecologist—driven, poised, and in control—a woman who finally finds love at fiftysomething and watches, horrified, as her perfectly ordered world crumbles around her.
Bobbie’s patient, Lisa, a former juvenile offender and habitual runaway, who once dreamed of fame working as Joyce’s gallery assistant and is now struggling with her new identity as a banker’s wife and doting mother.
Lisa’s sister, Lynne, a middle-aged suburban mother whose penchant for home decorating conceals her troubled marriage and blinding desire to exact revenge for a childhood injustice.
Jordan, Lynne’s sixteen-year-old daughter, a former straight-A student and aspiring model who, no longer fitting in at school or at home, takes a part-time job at a supermarket to spite her mother—and finds a close confidant in her thirtyyear-old male boss.
“The Generosity of Women is wonderful, dramatic, comic, deeply felt and possessed of a beauty that is both quotidian and rare.”
“Courtney Eldridge is one of the most interesting young writers I’ve read in years. The Generosity of Women is a lovely and difficult book that rewards its readers page after page. A stunning novel.”
“Eldridge (Unkempt: Stories) carves up the sacred cows of women’s experience and leaves the bloody corpses on the slaughterhouse floor for readers to view. Marriage and motherhood take the most punishing blows, but career ambitions and the ever-complicated roles of friend, daughter, and lover are up for dissection as well in this juicy, messy romp through the lives of six middle-class women who struggle to define and articulate their identities and desires . . . The writing style is episodic and fluid, moving freely through time, and designed to appeal to those readers who prefer to have key plot points and relationships revealed gradually. However, the fan of the ‘problem novel’ will benefit most here, as Eldridge forces her readers to take a good, hard look at family planning from every possible angle, not just the ones they might personally agree with. Visceral and stunning.”
“Short-story author Eldridge (Unkempt, 2005) gives distinctive voice to six very different characters in her challenging debut novel . . . Each character has a story to tell, and it’s not entirely easy to keep track of these intersecting first-person narratives. Eldridge does not use any typological signs to designate dialogue, and she employs an elliptical style that forces the reader to approach each woman’s story from the outside. It takes a while to fully grasp the various overlapping conflicts that compel the plot, but readers willing to do the work will be rewarded with a rich, emotionally and intellectually engaging experience. Eldridge’s craft enhances the verisimilitude-quotation marks and long passages of exposition tend not to occur in real life-and there’s something exciting about a book that combines technical daring with concerns generally relegated to the nongenre known as ‘women’s fiction.’ The author takes her characters seriously, she takes her work seriously, and she takes her audience seriously too. Brave and accomplished.”
“Six women tell their interconnected stories, in their own voices. At first, the snippets come too quickly to keep track of the different characters, but as the book progresses, each character becomes clear and her story compelling . . . most readers will find someone to identify with in this perfect book-club read.”
In the seven stories and one novella collected in Unkempt, Courtney Eldridge gives life to characters of astounding originality. Probing the darker corners of the human psyche, she shows-with a sly and unexpected sense of humor-the neurotic mind at work, the skewed perspective of an alcoholic parent, the nature of sexual conquest, and the hazards of working in retail. Fresh, funny, and candid, Eldridge's writing delivers a new and marvelous vision of life.
“Neurosis is to Eldridge’s stories what suburbia was to Cheever’s: it’s at once context, antagonist and metasubject. Her brilliant trick is to write in a voice so colloquially familiar that we don’t automatically classify these crazy people as ‘the other’ but rather recognize them as our friends, our family members or even ourselves.”
“Each piece is no less than arresting, and more than one ranks as a tour de force of quirky style and insight.”
“Riveting and inventive . . . The result is an enveloping journey, with Eldridge, like an ever-present mischievous sprite, watching over her heroine’s twisting path from denial to a gruesome recovered memory. Eldridge’s stories are forever at play in their own fantastical surfaces. She is an unabashed entertainer, unafraid of ploys, gimmicks and whimsy. But just when you’ve adjusted to her oddball narrative scenery, she sucks you into a looking-glass realm of emotional-confidence games, petty anxieties and heartbreak.”
“Eldridge is unrelenting. Each story is painful, exhausting and provocative … driven by thoughts expertly rendered into dialogue . . . [Her obsessions] are bloody, naked, and screaming. It’s hard not to look.”
“Zany . . . hilarious . . . these stories accentuate Eldridge’s ability to create diverse first-person narratives, all perfectly revealing the quirky perspectives of their speakers.”
“Combining smarts and compassion, Courtney Eldridge bursts on the literary scene with her debut collection of short stories, ‘Unkempt.’ Her technically precise language resonates with the steady thump of life -- doubts, fears, obsessions, compulsions and neuroses bang, Spaldeen-like, against concrete reality . . . Eldridge’s gift as a writer is her ability to relay the connections that hold together the darker corners of our lives. She forces us to look at the ordinary and find the hidden surprise within.”
“If I needed someone to crawl inside my head and kindly record the nuttiness found there, I’d entrust the job to no one but Eldridge.”
“Courtney Eldridge is one of my favorite living short story writers. She has courage and vision like few writers, an amazing ear, and compassion like nobody else at all. When I read her, I feel better about literature and better about the world. Want to know what really makes human beings tick? Throw away everything on your bedside table and read this instead.”
“Eldridge is a cartographer of the compulsive mind and the nearly unbearable sorrow that smolders underneath. Her stories are prayers for redemption in a landscape where the banal is grotesque, the sacred profane. A wise and brave work by a remarkable new writer.”
“Courtney Eldridge is one of the smartest young writers in America, and she knows how to use knives. There are echoes of Dixon here, and Moody, and Wallace, and maybe even early Carver -- great technical control masking great emotional upheaval. All of these stories, after their meanderings, their circlings and jokes and asides, deliver a measurable catharsis, and it's all the more powerful for how painful -- though that pain is wrapped and rewrapped, hidden and denied -- it was to get there.”