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Emma Straub

Author of The Vacationers

14+ Works 4,918 Members 295 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Emma Straub is an author, a bookseller, and a staff writer for Rookie. Her fiction and non-fiction works have been published in The Paris Review Daily, Time, and The New York Times. Her novels include Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, Other People We Married, The Vacationers and Modern Lovers. show more (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Emma Straub

Works by Emma Straub

The Vacationers (2014) 1,429 copies
All Adults Here (2020) 1,016 copies
This Time Tomorrow (2022) 975 copies
Modern Lovers (2016) 897 copies
Other People We Married (2011) 137 copies
Very Good Hats (2023) 60 copies
Fly Over State (2009) 15 copies
Reading Is Magic: A Book Log for Families (2021) — Foreword — 3 copies
Moodsad armastajad (2017) 2 copies
Gaga Mistake Day (2024) 2 copies
Feriegs̆terne (2016) 1 copy

Associated Works

xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths (2013) — Contributor — 273 copies
Mythic Journeys: Retold Myths and Legends (2019) — Contributor — 55 copies


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Common Knowledge



Modern Lovers is one of those novels that doesn’t deal with anything new or over the top exciting, but is still very difficult to put down. It’s full of domestic drama – relationships, work life and teenage angst – that takes place over the summer. There are multiple characters with their own issues, big and small. I found it fascinating, perhaps due to Emma Straub’s skills in crafting the world and concerns of her characters.

The story is about three old university friends; Elizabeth, Andrew and Zoe who live within a stone’s throw of each other in a neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Elizabeth and Andrew are married to each other and live with teenage sone Harry. He’s very well behaved; Andrew is a drifter, unable to stick with a job likely due to family money. Elizabeth is a real estate agent – it’s not a forever job, but she’s good at it. Zoe works with wife Jane at their local restaurant and tears her hair out at their daughter Ruby, who is rebellious and doesn’t look like she’s going to college in the fall. What binds the three together is not only their friendship, but that they co-wrote a song that defined a generation. Now a movie is being made of former bandmate Lydia’s life and they are being asked to sign over the rights. But this summer, that’s not their biggest problem. Harry and Ruby fall in love and get in trouble. Jane and Zoe are on the brink of divorce. Andrew falls in with a yoga group slash cult and Elizabeth tries to hold it together for everyone until secrets from the past spill out. It’s messy with big and small dramas.

The characters of Modern Lovers aren’t always endearing. In fact, they all have something that is irritating on various levels. Rather than detract away from my enjoyment of the story, it added to it. The characters (and their creator) aren’t afraid to act foolishly, stupidly or be obstinate just because. There are some complex interactions, made more tricky because of each character’s inherent biases and nature. I quite liked Elizabeth and Zoe, who both had different ways of dealing with things. Andrew, with his aimless wanderings, unhindered by a job or money worries, was grating because of his lack of knowledge of how the world actually worked. He came across as more of a caricature than the other adults.

At the heart, Modern Lovers is about relationships. Old love and new love, love that’s wearing thin and love that’s growing. It’s never constant, with the characters getting frustrated with each other and their younger selves. Brooklyn also acts as an anchoring character, with each character having strong ties to their local area and reluctance to move on. It’s not a book with a fast paced plot, rather a gentle exploration of interactions between and within generations.

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birdsam0610 | 39 other reviews | Feb 17, 2024 |
I put this book on hold from my library without really paying attention to what it was about. That was actually a good idea this time. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that this book is about the relationship between a father and daughter, facing mortality. Even though it goes into definite science fiction territory, and I usually stay far away from it, I was very intrigued. The overwhelming irony with life imitating art is that Emma Straub's father Paul actually died this past September 4, which was my father's birthday. We chose that day to hold the unveiling for him. I think in both cases, we are choosing life, despite all.… (more)
asendor | 54 other reviews | Feb 15, 2024 |
Good for a while then slowed toward the end. Most of the characters were judgmental and unfair so I didn't really like any of them (only Carmen). 
Jenniferforjoy | 106 other reviews | Jan 29, 2024 |
I liked this but I’m not sure everyone will. I feel like there are a lot of books out these days toying with the idea of the alternate life/timeline. I enjoy that concept and liked this but confess it’s getting a little played out.

That said: this one worked pretty well for me personally because I related to the main character Alice who shared my birthday, October 12, and is exploring her relationship with her Dad as he nears death. My own Dad died many years ago, when I was just 20, so the idea of getting to do what Alice does is something I really that I really connect with.

Also - can you even imagine going in to your 16th birthday with all of your adult knowledge abs experience onboard? Whoa!

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hmonkeyreads | 54 other reviews | Jan 25, 2024 |



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