Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dear Great Book Guru, I saw the wonderful article "Living in Sea Cliff "in the Sunday New York Times with those great photos by local resident and renowned photographer Kathy Kmonicek. Do you have a book you would recommend about that ever fascinating topic: real estate? Contented Homeowner but Always Looking

Dear Contented, Read MODEL HOME by Eric Puchner and you'll stop looking. This novel is set in 1985-86 Southern California where Warren Ziller, a real estate developer, has moved with his wife and three children to an affluent gated beach community or as the ads call it- "an equestrian village." His plan to build cheap homes deep into the desert flounders when the county builds a toxic waste treatment center nearby, and he finds himself facing emotional and financial bankruptcy. The story is told from the viewpoints of each of the family members: Camille, a sweetly earnest woman who quickly realizes the good life is no longer within their reach and blames her husband ; Warren, the erring husband whose sees his cars, his furniture, his life being repossessed ; Dustin, a handsome seventeen year-old with a boring girlfriend and an addiction to alcohol and TV; Lyla, a sixteen year-old highly intelligent misanthrope; and finally, Jonas, an eleven year-old with a disturbing death obsession. When a terrible accident befalls Dustin and the reality of their financial debacle becomes clear, the family reinvents itself in a myriad of ways - some good, some bad, and all painful. Be aware: you will probably never want to move after reading this book.

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