At once darkly comedic and moving, this witty exploration of female friendship, envy, and misguided ambition by the author of the number-one bestseller Drowning Ruth , deliciously satirizes the desire to shine in the world.
In All is Vanity , Margaret and Letty, best friends since childhood and now living on opposite coasts, reach their mid-thirties and begin to chafe at their sense that they are not where they ought to be in life. Margaret, driven and overconfident, decides the best way to rectify this is to quit her job and whip out a literary tour de force. Frustrated almost immediately and humiliated at every turn, Margaret turns to Letty for support. But as Letty, a stay-at-home mother of four, begins to feel pressured to make a good showing in the upper-middle-class Los Angeles society into which her husband’s new job has thrust her, Margaret sees a plot unfolding that’s better than anything she could make up. Desperate to finish her book and against her better nature, she pushes Letty to take greater and greater risks, and secretly steals her friend’s stories as fast as she can live them. Hungry for the world’s regard, Margaret rashly sacrifices one of the things most precious to her, until the novel’s suspenseful conclusion shows her the terrible consequences of her betrayal.
Widely celebrated for her debut novel, Drowning Ruth , Christina Schwarz once again proves herself to be a writer of remarkable depth and
range. Like Drowning Ruth , All is Vanity probes into the mysteries of the human heart and uncovers the passions that drive ordinary
people to break the rules in pursuit of their own desires.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Religion eBook: All Is Vanity|
|Release Date: 10-15-2002|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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All Is Vanity
I WAS A PROMISING CHILD. When I was seven, I spent an entire week hunkered down on the cranberry red carpeting in my father's study, building a scale model of the Temple of Athena at Paestum. I carved the columns out of Ivory soap with a paring knife and pushed red clay through my Play-Doh press to tile over the Styrofoam roof. I painted a frieze, which was cheating and ultimately unsatisfactory, since it was not authentically three-dimensional. My father wondered why not the Parthenon, but I wasn't interested in the obvious.
"Everyone knows the Parthenon, Dad," I said, in a superior tone, although, in fact, I knew no one other than he who was at all acquainted with the Greeks.
Three months after I'd finished my temple, my little brother, Warren, was parking his Hot Wheels in it.
When I was eight, I sewed two chamois I swiped from the garage into a little dress in the style of the Lakota Sioux. You'd think this would be less ambitious than the Temple of Athena, but the beadwork was extensive. Beads were very big then-my friends and I sat cross-legged on the driveway with little cups of color-coded plastic treasure near our knees and threaded them on elastic to give to one another as necklaces and bracelets. I had to cut apart five of the six chokers my very best friend, Letty, had given me to get enough beads just to finish the bodice of the dress.
My mother was less pleased with the Lakota costume than she'd been with the temple. Architecture, yes. Sewing, no. But at that point in my career, I didn't care what my mother or anyone else thought. I didn't care that the columns of my temple had bits of sticky string tied