When one of our booksellers met Maria Semple at a special preview of her book, she immediately came back to Bainbridge telling us to get her over here for an author talk. Then we had the opportunity to have Seattle author Laurie Frankel join Semple for a double-header! This will be quite a night!
Hilariously funny, delightfully brilliant and nuanced, Where'd you go, Bernadette? tells the story of a complicated, revolutionary, outspoken mom and best-friend to her teen daughter who one day simply disappears. Fifteen-year-old Bee's efforts to find her mother through documents, emails, secret correspondence unfold in a screw-ball comedy manner with both laughter and tears. Author Garth Stein says: "It was only a matter of time before Maria Semple turned her hilariously wicked, razor-sharp, acid-etched humor loose on Seattle, and set her impeccable laser sights on the heart of Microsoft. At times a tears-to-your-eyes laugher that skewers my own home town (and quite possibly my own mother), "Where'd you go, Bernadette" is also a compassionate look at family dysfunction, the paralysis of genius, and good old-fashioned parental love. Cleverly constructed and brilliantly executed, Semple has driven this one home with great authority, and has proven, once again, that she ranks among contemporary literature's finest satirists." In Frankel's Goodbye for now, Sam Elling is taking the social network to the next level: the afterlife.
Sam Elling works for an internet dating company, but he still can't get a date. So he creates an algorithm to match people with their soul mates. The technology fixes Sam up with Meredith, the love of his life, but it also gets him fired when the company starts losing all their customers to Mr. and Ms. Right.
When Meredith's grandmother Livvie dies suddenly, Sam reconfigures the algorithm so that Meredith can keep in touch with her. Mining from all her correspondence--email, Facebook, video chat, texts--Sam constructs a computer simulation of Livvie, who responds to email or video chat just as if she were still alive. It's not magic or the supernatural; it's computer science.
Meredith loves her virtual Livvie, so the couple launches a business to help others through their grief. But as the company takes off, it proves more complicated than any of them imagined. For every person who just wants to say goodbye, there is someone who can't let go. Meanwhile, Sam and Meredith's affection for one another deepens into the kind of love that comes once in a lifetime, a love that neither of them could live without. But what if they suddenly had to?
In the spirit of One Day, this high concept and emotionally hard-hitting novel delivers a charming and bittersweet love story for the 21st century and a heartrending exploration of the nature of love, loss, and life--both real and computer simulated. Maybe nothing was meant to last forever, but then again, sometimes love takes on a life of its own.
About Maria Semple, Where'd you go, Bernadette?: In Where'd you go, Bernadette?, Maria Semple gives us a comedy of manners about the Emerald City that brings together everything we love about the television show Arrested Development (for which Maria was a writer), mixes in hyperactive modern parenting, adds a healthy dash of comedy about business culture, and tells the story of a mother and daughter in the brilliant, affecting, and bent tradition of Aimee Bender and Tom Perrotta.
Here's the story of how Bernadette was born, in Maria's own words: "A few years ago I was in a bad way. I had quit my TV writing career and moved to Seattle, where everyone I met seemed to take an instant dislike to me. I was bursting with giggling love for my little daughter, but worried I was somehow wrecking her. I had spent two years writing and rewriting a novel full of agreeable characters, but the pages were lifeless beyond repair. I abandoned the whole thing. I blamed Seattle. Also, I really missed having an assistant. My partner, George, was genuinely worried I had gone insane.
"I was droning on about this to a friend in LA He finally couldn't take it anymore and said, 'You can't believe any of this nonsense. Maria, you must write. If you don't write, you’ll become a menace to society.' I suddenly realized: this toxic brew of self-pity, defensiveness, love, and artistic paralysis I had become, while humiliating to admit to, was actually kind of funny. The character of Bernadette popped into my head, fully formed." Who is Bernadette? Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect; and to fifteen-year-old Bee, she's simply mom. When our story opens, Bernadette has disappeared and Bee begins a quest to find her. Check out Entertainment Weekly's exclusive (and funny) book trailer for Maria's new book. Maria Semple's first novel, This one is mine, was set in Los Angeles, where she also wrote for television shows including Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. She escaped from Los Angeles and lives with her family in Seattle, where her second novel takes place. About Laurie Frankel, Goodbye for now: In this fresh and warmhearted love story Laurie Frankel explores the nature of love, loss, and life in Goodbye for now, a charming and bittersweet tale for the 21st century.
Sam Elling is a computer whiz working at an internet dating company in Seattle. He is smart, funny, and like many singles in their thirties, looking for someone to share his life with. So when he cannot find a date, he brilliantly creates an algorithm that will systematically match you with your soul mate. His program works so well that he meets his perfect match, Meredith Maxwell, and falls in love instantly.
When Meredith’s grandmother, Livvie, dies suddenly, Sam puts his computer genius to use again and creates a program that allows Meredith to have one last conversation with her beloved grandmother, the gift of an opportunity to say goodbye. The program allows Meredith and Livvie to email back and forth, text and even make phone calls. Meredith embraces simulated Livvie more than Sam ever expected and Sam wonders if this is something that could help more people through their grief.
A community soon forms, it seems that everyone has someone they wish to talk to one last time. But for every person that wants to say good-bye, there are those that just can’t seem to let go. What lengths can the relationship between human and machine reach and at what point do their boundaries come to a head? Sam and Meredith’s affection for each other deepens into the kind of love that once tasted, you cannot live without. But what if unexpectedly, one of them had to?
In the spirit of One Day, Goodbye for now will lovingly wash over your heart and leave you faced with an important question: If you had the chance to talk to a departed loved one again, would you take it? Laurie Frankel is the author of The Atlas of Love. She lives in Seattle with her husband and young son.
Location: Street: 1200 11th St City: Bellingham, Province: Washington Postal Code: 98225-7015 Country: United States (added from IndieBound)… (more)