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Jessica Shattuck Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Hazards of Good Breeding: A Novel (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Perfect Life (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Women in the Castle (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Last House (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Jessica Shattuck
Jessica Shattuck received her MFA from Columbia University in 2001 and graduated from Harvard University in 1994.

“The Hazards of Good Breeding” was a Boston Globe best book of year and was a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award in 2003. “The Women in the Castle” was the winner of The New England Book Award.

Jessica’s fiction has appeared in The Tampa Review, Glamour, The New Yorker, and Open City, among other publications. Other writing of hers has appeared in Mother Jones, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Wired, and The Believer Magazine.

“The Hazards of Good Breeding” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2003. An old and WASPy Boston family that comes face to face with an America far larger than the one that it was born into.

Caroline Dunlap has written off the insular world of golf club luaus, the Boston deb parties, and WASP weddings which she grew up with. However once she returns back home after graduating from college, she finds that not everything is quite so predictable or protected as she had imagined.

Her dad, the puritanical and eccentric Jack Dunlap, carries on stoically after his marriage’s breakup, however he cannot quit thinking about Rosita (the family housekeeper that he fired less than six months back).

Eliot (Caroline’s younger brother) is working on this giant papier mache diorama of their town, or could he be hatching a plan of much larger proportions? While the real reason of Rosita’s departure gets revealed, the book culminates in a series of events which assault the sheltered, fragile, and arguably obsolete world of the Dunlaps. Opening up a window into a family’s fears and repressed desires, Jessica delivers a startling perceptive comedy of manners and heralds a new writer of dazzling talent.

“Perfect Life” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2009. Two years ago, Neil Banks stepped into a bathroom into the Pacific Fertility Center in order to provide Jenny Callahan (his former college girlfriend) with the biological material necessary to conceive a baby.

Becoming a dad was not part of the deal. He’s adrift in his postmodern Los Angeles lifestyle, he signed all of his paternity rights away. However on the day of the child’s christening, Neil shows up at the church.

His unexpected and unauthorized return to Jenny’s privileged East Coast world sends this shockwave through the families of Jenny and her two college roommates and sets off a keenly observed and deeply funny novel about American excess, fertility, and love.

“The Women in the Castle” is the third stand alone novel and was released in 2017. During war, they made some impossible decisions. Can they now live with them?

The Third Reich has crumbled, and now the Russians are coming.

Marianne von Lingenfels, the widow of a resister that got murdered by the Nazi regime, finds some refuge in the crumbling Bavarian castle where she used to play host to German society. It’s there that she fulfills her promise to find and protect the kids and wives of her husband’s brave conspirators, rescuing Benita (her dearest friend’s widow) from sexual slavery to the Russian army, and Ania from this work camp for political prisoners. While Marianne assembles a makeshift family she’s sure that their shared pain is going to bind them together.

However while Benita starts this clandestine relationship and Ania struggles with concealing her own role in the Nazi regime, Marianne discovers that her highly principled and clear cut world view has got no place in these frightening and emotionally charged days.

All three of these women have to grapple with the realities that they each face, and the consequences of choices made back during the darkest of days.

“Last House” is the fourth stand alone novel and was released in 2024. The war’s over, and America has just entered a golden age: The Age of Oil.

The year is 1953, and for Nick Taylor (WWII veteran, who’s now a company lawyer), oil’s the key to the future. He takes the train into the city for work and goes back to the peaceful streets of the suburbs and to Bet (his wife, and former codebreaker turned housewife) and their two kids Harry and Katherine. Nick hails from humble origins however thanks to his work for American Oil, he is able to provide every comfort possible for his family, including Last House, which is a secluded country escape. The Taylors, while deep in the Vermont mountains, are free from all the stresses of modern life. Bet does not have to worry about the Russian H-bombs which haunt her dreams, and the kids roam free in the woods. Last House is a place which could survive the end of the world.

The year is 1968, and America is on the verge of change. Protestors fill the streets in order to challenge everything from racism in the wake of MLK’s shooting to the Vietnam War; even Big Oil is protested. While Katherine makes her first forays into adult life, she gets caught up in the current of the time and struggles to reconcile her ideals with the privileged and stable childhood that her Greatest Generation parents worked so very hard in order to provide her. However once the Movement shifts in a much more radical direction, each member of the Taylor family is going to be forced to reckon with the consequences of the decisions they have made for the causes that they believed.

Spanning almost eighty years and multiple generations, this tells the story about an American family during an age of grand ideals and even bigger downfalls. Set against the backdrop of our nation’s history, this is an emotional tour de force which digs deeply into questions of inheritance and what it is that we owe one another, and captures to stunning effect the gravity of time, the hubris of empire, and the double edge of progress.

Jessica delivers a sweeping tale of a nation on the rise, and a family’s deeply complicated relationship to the resource which built their fortune and fueled their greatest tragedy.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jessica Shattuck

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