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Cathleen Schine Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Alice in Bed (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
To the Birdhouse (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rameau's Niece (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Love Letter (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Evolution of Jane (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
She Is Me (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The New Yorkers (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Three Weissmanns of Westport (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fin & Lady (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
They May Not Mean To, But They Do (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Grammarians (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Künstlers in Paradise (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Best American Essays 2005(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon

Called the modern-day Jane Austen, Cathleen Schine is an international bestselling author of literary fiction. Her first novel was “The Love Letter” that was first published in 1983 and became a huge success that it was made into a movie that starred Kate Capshaw as the lead. “Rameau’s Niece” another popular novel by Schine was also made into the film “The Misadventures of Margaret” that had Parker Posey as the lead. “The Grammarians” published in 2019 has received widespread critical acclaim and has become one of her most popular novels ever. In addition to writing literary fiction, she has also been writing for “The New York Times Book Review,” “The New Yorker,” “The New York Times Sunday Magazine,” and “The New York Review of Books” among others. Her essays have also been featured in the likes of “The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs,” “Best American Essays 2005,” an “Anthology of New Yorker Humor,” and “Fierce Pajamas.” Schine was married to David Denby a New Yorker film critic but now lives with Janet Meyers in Venice California.

Schine grew up in Westport Connecticut and all she wanted to be when she grew up was a writer. It was at Sarah Lawrence College where her dreams of becoming an author were dashed when she realized that her poetry was really bad. But since she grew up and watched as her mother got her Ph.D. she thought that maybe a career in academia would be more to her liking As such, she went on to enroll for a master’s in medieval history at the University of Chicago. Schine soon discovered that she did not have a head for dates, names or abstract ideas and hence she had to quit her dream of getting her masters. Prior to the huge disappointment, she had enrolled for a paleography fellowship in Italy and learned that she loved to go shopping for shoes. Since her career in academia had not worked out, she thought she could make a career in the world of shoes. But while it was very rewarding, she could not find a well-paying job which made it a short-lived career. Debt-ridden and in dire financial straits, she turned to freelance writing to earn her crust. She was a failure in the academic world but soon learned that she was something of a pseudo-intellectual. She went on to write for the likes of “Family Circle,” “The New York Review of Books,” and “The New Yorker.” In 1983 while living with her mother, she was invited to write a piece by an editor of “Village Voice.” The piece became the backbone for her debut novel “Alice and Bed” and since then she has never looked back.

Cathline Schine’s novels are mostly on the theme of family. She asserts that there are so many different personalities and contradictions around the dinner table that you may just as well have sadness or humor. She writes about how people react when hit with unexpected happenings. For instance, Alice the lead in her first novel “Alice in Bed” suddenly cannot walk at the tender age of 19. Cathline looks at how such events can change people whether it is by finding the strength to take the unexpected or giving up. In the first novel Alice showcases the resilience of personality even as she has to deal with the randomness of fate that has left her unable to get out of bed. She participates, amuses, touches and is involved in the life of her doctors, nurses, family, and fellow patients even as she focuses on her recovery. In the second novel “To the Birdhouse” Alice does not let up as she going for what she wants while also fighting to free her mother from an unscrupulous boyfriend. She had struggled to get her freedom back and is now going to get married to a man of her dreams. She is going to fight tooth and nail to ensure her mother also remains free. The lead in “Rameau’s Niece” is Margaret Nathan who thinks her husband is wooing his students. She lives in fear of her unworthiness and his infidelity making for a hilarious story of friendship and love.

Alice in Bed which is Schine’s first novel and one of her most popular is the story of Alice Brody. She is a second-year student at college who suddenly finds herself in a hospital room unable to move for months. She is in a lot of pain and her legs cannot move from an affliction her doctor cannot find cause or cure. She is an appealing and sassy girl struck down but refusing to give up and will do anything to recover and gain back her freedom. A lot can happen in the months that one is cooped up in hospital as her parents get divorced. Her father has run off with a new lover and now lives in Vancouver. It is only her well-appointed and well-meaning mother who remains by her side sitting with her sometimes irritating but often comforting Alice. The specialists are flown in to offer their advice though she is irritated by their prodding and patronizing behavior. She has to listen to the likes of violet bearing and Shakespeare quoting Dr. Davis and the authority on pain and hypnotist extraordinaire Dr. Fresser. His presence fills her hospital room and brings her momentary calm.

“To the Birdhouse” is a fast-paced novel that continues the story of Alice, now a newly married woman obsessed with Louie San Scifo her mother’s new boyfriend. She is happy in her marriage to the man of her dreams but her mother’s relationship with an unscrupulous young man is a fly in her ointment. She gathers her entire clan and manages to send the man packing but she cannot yet find rest. He has broken up with her mother Brenda but is now back threatening, stalking and harassing the entire family. They are forced to move to Westport, Connecticut from New York City but the man follows them there. Alice then decides that they cannot just take it and makes a plan for fighting back. It is a wry, touching and hysterically funny novel in which Alice grows and ultimately comes to accept her Canadian stepmother. It is a humorous light story that is very reminiscent of the works of Bridget Jones the Jewish author.

“Rameau’s Nice” is a great novel about Margaret Nathan a woman obsessed with her husband cheating on her since she thinks herself unworthy of him. Her paranoid came when she found a manuscript about a cheating professor. Now echoing the story in the manuscript, she becomes obsessed with the notion that Edward her academe and insufferable husband has been cheating on her. She solipsizes, theorizes on tons of adulterous possibilities her husband could get into, including philosophizing on the aspect of the truth of desire, love, and meaning. Nonetheless, her devotion to Edward was fascinating even if gross. It would seem that all she desperately wanted was someone to tell her what to do and someone to follow. While she is a very smart woman her interior monologue which is half confident and half anxious is very funny. Nathan is something of a socially inept Woody Allen Character if Allen would have been a young woman with her issues.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Cathleen Schine

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