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All Happy Families: A Memoir Audiobook, by Jeanne McCulloch Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jeanne McCulloch Narrator: Gabra Zackman Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2018 ISBN: 9780062848888
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The Glass Castle meets The Nest in this stunning debut, an intimate family memoir that gracefully brings us behind the dappled beachfront vista of privilege, to reveal the inner lives of two wonderfully colorful, unforgettable families.

On a mid-August weekend, two families assemble for a wedding at a rambling family mansion on the beach in East Hampton, in the last days of the area’s quietly refined country splendor, before traffic jams and high-end boutiques morphed the peaceful enclave into the Hamptons. The weather is perfect, the tent is in place on the lawn.

But as the festivities are readied, the father of the bride, and pater familias of the beachfront manse, suffers a massive stroke from alcohol withdrawal, and lies in a coma in the hospital in the next town. So begins Jeanne McCulloch’s vivid memoir of her wedding weekend in 1983 and its after effects on her family and the family of the groom. In a society defined by appearance and protocol, the wedding goes on at the insistence of McCulloch’s theatrical mother. Instead of a planned honeymoon, wedding presents are stashed in the attic, arrangements are made for a funeral, and a team of lawyers arrive armed with papers for McCulloch and her siblings to sign.

As McCulloch reveals, the repercussions from that weekend will ripple throughout her own family, and that of her in-law’s lives as they grapple with questions of loyalty, tradition, marital honor, hope, and loss. Five years later, her own brief marriage ended, she returns to East Hampton with her mother to divide the wedding presents that were never opened.

Impressionistic and lyrical, at turns both witty and poignant, All Happy Families is McCulloch’s clear-eyed account of her struggle to hear her own voice amid the noise of social mores and family dysfunction, in a world where all that glitters on the surface is not gold, and each unhappy family is ultimately unhappy in its own unique way.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A bittersweet story and a wonderful look at upper-class New York City life.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “In this elegant, searching memoir, Jeanne McCulloch peels back the glittering layers of privilege that comprise the surface of her family and exposes the soft, complicated, tender core beneath. This is a beautiful book about love, loss, and the ravages of time. I adored it.”

    Dani Shapiro, author of Hourglass

  • “McCulloch is as wise as she is funny, keen both to the ridiculous excesses of the moneyed class and to the evanescence of commercial beauty, while attentive to the intricate pains of alcoholism and love’s failures that afflict her characters amid the splendor.”

    Mona Simpson, author of Casebook

  • “An honest and sensitive portrayal of family dysfunction as well as an evocation of a dying world of old-money wealth and privilege. A poignantly intimate memoir.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Jeanne McCulloch’s take on the American aristocracy is informed by her sharp eye for any sign of pretentiousness and her uncanny ability to render the despair at the heart of every happy family.”

    Christopher Merrill, author of Self-Portrait with Dogwood

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About the Author

Jeanne McCulloch is a former managing editor of the Paris Review, a former senior editor of Tin House magazine, and the founding editorial director of Tin House Books. She is a founding director of the Todos Santos Writers Workshop. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, the New York Times, O, the Oprah Magazine, Vogue, Allure, and the North American Review among other publications. She lives with her family in New York City and Shelter Island.

About the Narrator

Gabra Zackman is an actress, author, and narrator who has won several AudioFile Earphones Awards. She was educated at Northwestern University. A classically trained actress, she has appeared in theaters all over the country as well as on film and television.