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  • Published: 4 June 2015
  • ISBN: 9781448151301
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

The Unfortunates




For fans of Joshua Ferris, Meg Wolitzer and Claire Messud.

CeCe Somner, an eccentric heiress once known for her cruel wit as much as for her tremendous generosity, now faces opulent decline. Afflicted with a rare disease and touched by mortality for the first time, her gilded, bygone values collide with an unforgiving present. As her troubled, spoiled son George and his outsider wife Iris struggle to resolve mounting financial and familiar troubles, Cece must face the Somner dynasty’s dark legacy. But when George’s secrets culminate in an unexpected crime, no riches can put things right for the unfortunate Somners. What will become of all three, who must learn what life will be like beyond the long, shimmering shadow cast by the family’s past?

  • Published: 4 June 2015
  • ISBN: 9781448151301
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

About the author

Sophie McManus

Sophie McManus grew up in New York City and attended Vassar College and Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA program. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Saltonstall Foundation and the Jentel Foundation. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction and Tin House, among other publications. She teaches writing in Brooklyn, New York. The Unfortunates is her first novel.

Praise for The Unfortunates

Sophie McManus, whose writing reminds me of Anne Tyler or Jonathan Franzen ... shows us the world through the cloudy lens of the truly moneyed, and gives us a riveting sense that something horrible is about to happen to these people. She corrals our prurience beautifully.

Evening Standard

McManus renders her opulent protagonists sympathetic by investigating their family ‘values’ with wit and generosity

Daily Mail

A very sharp novel

Evening Standard, Books of the Year

McManus, with her intricate re-creation of CeCe’s regal life, hearkens to an earlier artist far less frequently invoked: Edith Wharton . . . some of the funniest writing I’ve read in years: Martin Amis funny; wheezing, choke-on-your-laughter funny. After reading so many comic novels that eventually shatter in brittle cynicism or evaporate in gassy sentimentality, I moved through The Unfortunates with a slowly accruing sense of awe as these characters grew simultaneously more outrageous and more sympathetic.

Washington Post

McManus, with her intricate re-creation of CeCe’s regal life, hearkens to an earlier artist far less frequently invoked: Edith Wharton . . . some of the funniest writing I’ve read in years: Martin Amis funny; wheezing, choke-on-your-laughter funny. After reading so many comic novels that eventually shatter in brittle cynicism or evaporate in gassy sentimentality, I moved through The Unfortunates with a slowly accruing sense of awe as these characters grew simultaneously more outrageous and more sympathetic.

Washington Post

A truly dexterous writer, one who eyes the insular world she has chosen to crack open for us with as much wisdom as wit…formidable gifts for social satire

New Yorker

Reads as a cross between Tom Wolfe and Brett Easton Ellis at their respective peaks

Paste magazine

The Unfortunates is both a mirror on the income inequality of the current moment and a social novel in the old, grand, plotty mode: voracious for detail and punctuated by gasp-inducing turns of fate. Its subjects are money and the people unfortunate enough to have it. Who knew the rich deserved so much to be pitied?

Salvatore Scibona, author of THE END

What is truly rich about this stunning debut novel, beyond the over privileged social class in question, is the brilliant language—lucid, quick, accessible, yet almost cubist in its syntactical swerves and surprising word choices—with which Sophie McManus invests the inner lives of the Somners, mother, son, and daughter-in-law – three unforgettable protagonists.

Jaimy Gordon, author of LORD OF MISRULE

In finely etched detail as sharp as shards of glass, McManus reveals the corrupting power of wealth and the myriad ways it infects individual lives, and families.As relevant as it is compulsively readable.

Amanda Coplin, author of THE ORCHARDIST

Is there anything Sophie McManus can’t do? The virtuosity in these pages is astonishing, but just as astonishing is this novel’s abiding heart.

Joshua Henkin, author of THE WORLD WITHOUT YOU

Sophie McManus has a shrewd eye for telling gestures and an ear for cruel speech and kindness.She is an incisive, surprising prose stylist, and her debut novel, The Unfortunates, heralds an exciting new talent with an old soul.

Christine Schutt, author of PROPSEROUS FRIENDS

Is Sophie McManus the next Emma Straub?

New York Observer

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