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All This Could Be Yours (Hardcover)
November 2019 Indie Next List
“I am in love with Jami Attenberg’s writing, and was gripped by All This Could Be Yours from the opening pages. Everything about the Tuchmans felt so true to me: Alex’s confusion and anger toward the family’s toxic, now-comatose patriarch, Victor; Barbra’s isolation in her later years after a long marriage to a brute; Twyla and Gary’s unwinding secret selves—all of it is so perfectly told and paced. Full of Attenberg’s trademark dry wit and precise, uncomfortable insight into the psychology of family love (and its close cousin, family hate), this novel had me laughing with genuine joy and crying in real sadness at the same time.”
— Liv Stratman, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY
“Big Little Lies meets Succession in the scorching heat of the Big Easy . . . Money, power and family are touched upon through Attenberg’s emotional, humorous and sharply written accounts.” —Parade
“This is how you write a very good novel about a very bad man.” —New York Times
From critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Jami Attenberg comes a novel of family secrets: think the drama of Big Little Lies set in the heat of a New Orleans summer
“If I know why they are the way they are, then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am,” says Alex Tuchman of her parents. Now that her father is on his deathbed, Alex—a strong-headed lawyer, devoted mother, and loving sister--feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who Victor is and what he did over the course of his life and career. (A power-hungry real estate developer, he is, by all accounts, a bad man.) She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tightlipped mother, Barbra.
As Barbra fends off Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life with Victor. Meanwhile Gary, Alex’s brother, is incommunicado, trying to get his movie career off the ground in Los Angeles. And Gary’s wife, Twyla, is having a nervous breakdown, buying up all the lipstick in drug stores around New Orleans and bursting into crying fits. Dysfunction is at its peak. As each family member grapples with Victor’s history, they must figure out a way to move forward—with one another, for themselves, and for the sake of their children.
ALL THIS COULD BE YOURS is a timely, piercing exploration of what it means to be caught in the web of a toxic man who abused his power; it shows how those webs can tangle a family for generations and what it takes to—maybe, hopefully—break free. With her signature “sparkling prose” (Marie Claire) and incisive wit, Jami Attenberg deftly explores one of the most important subjects of our age.
About the Author
A Buzzfeed Book Club Pick * An Apple Best of the Month Selection * ABA's November Indie Next List * Shortlisted for the 2020 Tournament of Books
A Best Fall Book Title from: Time * People * Entertainment Weekly * Salon * BBC * Buzzfeed * Refinery29 * Vogue * Vulture * Bustle * Cosmopolitan * New York Post * Nylon * Bust * Hello Giggles * USA Today * The Observer * PopSugar * Newsday * Woman’s Day * St. Louis Dispatch * Inside Hook * She Knows
“Attenberg gets so deep into the psyches of her characters that the story ends up seeming electric with ruin, and with possible resurrection…This is how you write a very good novel about a very bad man…All This Could Be Yours is full of hope—but it is to say that the novel is most powerful when it’s in honest open battle with that which makes hope so difficult in the first place.”
“With her sixth novel, Jami Attenberg…secures her place as an oddly sparkling master of warped family sagas…All This Could Be Yours is orchestrated with the precision of an opera on a revolving stage…Full of brio.”
“All This Could Be Yours is an engaging portrait of the unshakable connection of family.”
“Arguably Attenberg’s best novel to date…Attenberg’s characters compellingly offer a frank glimpse into the scourge of late capitalism and toxic masculinity in the United States…As family secrets unspool, the years of resentment and anger burn off in this tightly drawn novel.”
"Attenberg is a master at excavating the good, the bad and the ugly truths about families, and in this short but potent novel, her richly human characters populate a witty narrative studded with surprises."
—People, Book of the Week
“Complicated families are Attenberg’s speciality, and she more than delivers on that premise here.”
“Told from multiple perspectives, All This Could Be Yours illustrates the heartbreak, isolation and chaos that comes from really getting to know your family.”
"Attenberg is never less than wise, hilarious, and deeply real about all the fundamental topics: families, love, death, money, and knowing when you can fix something versus when you maybe can't."
“Attenberg is...a masterful psychoanalyst...she doesn’t flinch from digging into life’s messiness, pressing gently but resolutely into wounds to see what oozes out. Attenberg’s medium, as much as the written word, is familial dysfunction. And the Tuchman family is a matryoshka stacking doll of dysfunction. [This is] an emotionally messy novel, but precise in craft. The narrative voice is complex and profound...Attenberg writes with care about even the most glancing characters – a random streetcar driver, a Pilates instructor on a hike, a stroke victim sharing Victor’s hospital ward – her narrative touching so many souls, it’s like a spirit passing through.”
“Attenberg explores violence, corruption, infidelity and betrayal – with a satisfying set of consequences.”
“Versatile, earthbound, and unforgiving, the novelist returns to the comic blend of messy family drama that made The Middlesteins such a smart best seller. This time, the madness swirls around the (sort of) grown children of the dying Victor, a tyrannical and very shady real-estate developer.”
“While the plot of All This Could Be Yours only takes place over a single day — albeit a very, very long day — the stories told in the novel encapsulate lifetimes.”
“Attenberg is on a roll…[the] combination of ambitious scope and economical treatment [and the] spirit of unsentimental generosity, recall the divine Grace Paley, a comparison Attenberg has inspired more than once…Like a little chili pepper in the chocolate, that particular kind of dark laughter is Attenberg’s secret ingredient.”
“If you feed off of dysfunctional family drama that’s not your own, you’ll eat this up.”
“Big Little Lies meets Succession in the scorching heat of the Big Easy—that’s All This Could Be Yours, the story of a power-hungry patriarch on his deathbed and a family reckoning with a secret past. Money, power and family are touched upon through Attenberg’s emotional, humorous and sharply written accounts.”
“A richly drawn pleasure.”
“All This Could Be Yours complicates the narrative of shitty men and forgiveness…By focusing on the women who Victor has harmed, Attenberg offers a fleeting world where even messy, sometimes-bad women deserve justice on their own terms…With at times painfully sharp precision and beautiful language, Attenberg complicates our understanding of and expectation of forgiveness and healing. For some, forgiveness looks like prayer and apologies; for others, it looks like never really forgiving at all; and, for others still, it looks like forgiving the self.”
“[A] master of modern fiction…toggling back and forth through perspectives and time, Attenberg gives each character their own rich history making even tertiary ones—a Pilates instructor, a CVS clerk, a world-weary coroner—come fantastically alive, sometimes in just a single line. New Orleans, too, is its own protagonist: a place of sticky booze and Spanish moss and endless, swampy heat that also knows its own clichés, inside and out.”
“A smart, funny, beautifully observed family saga.”
“Juicy drama…Attenberg’s characters (family members as well as outsiders via clever cameos) are deftly developed, making for a fast but satisfying read.”
“It wouldn’t be a Jami Attenberg novel without a difficult family at its center. The New Orleans-set All This Could Be Yours spins secrets and resentments in its portrait of a strong-willed lawyer who returns home to contend with the legacy of her abusive, dying father.”
“All This Could Be Yours…is glorious. It’s dark, sexy, mordant and the characters are deeply flawed yet relatable in that ‘drag me’ way. It’s set in New Orleans and while Jami’s writing is sparkling and lucid, the muggy heat of the backdrop lends an air of sultry wooziness that evokes day drinking and other amazing decisions. This book captures the intolerable loneliness and occasional futility of loving your family. All This Could Be Yours makes you want to call your mom, get salty when she doesn’t pick up and then let her call go to voicemail when she rings you back."
“We would read anything that Jami Attenberg writes. Anything. All This Could Be Yours is the best family drama you’ll read all year—and Attenberg’s best novel yet.”
“Jami Attenberg’s characters (family members as well as outsiders via clever cameos) are deftly developed, making for a fast but satisfying read.”
—Real Simple, “The Best Books of 2019 (So Far)”
“A deep dive into the darker side of family bonds, All This Could Be Yours is another compulsively readable novel by Jami Attenberg. In what feels like a rebuke to late capitalism, Attenberg refuses to find charm or redemption in the ugliness of greed. Her first book set in New Orleans, the novel casts a stark contrast between this family of outsiders and the native residents whose lives intersect with the Tuchmans. This is a parable for our times.”
“Contemporary family sagas don’t get much better than this novel, which should appeal to fans of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections or Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach.”
“Novelist Jami Attenberg writes fascinating, complicated characters, and All This Could Be Yours connects a villainous old man on his deathbed with others you’ll instantly care about. Despite the short time span, this story covers a lot of ground…a rich account of what folks have done, remembered, and regretted. Attenberg’s writing is funny and true, her observations bone-deep and nonjudgmental.”
“Pointed, raw prose…soaked in the boiling intensity of August in the city.”
—Electric Lit, “7 Books Set in New Orleans That Go Beyond Mardi Gras”
“Weaving together a riotous assortment of threads, Attenberg tenderly mines [the Tuchmans’] family history and massive dysfunction not for clues as to what created the monstrous Victor but for what a monster can create in spite of himself. Her characters—flawed, defensive, overwhelmed and frequently endearing—fizz off the page. Their inner lives coalesce beautifully into a funny and heart-stirring tribute to the nutty inscrutability of belonging to a family.”
—Booklist, starred review
“In this darkly hilarious family drama, an abusive patriarch is on his deathbed in New Orleans, and his daughter is determined to mine her distant mother for secrets.”
“If you’re a fan of shows like Succession or even Arrested Development, looking at the fallout of a wealthy, toxic man and the family life he built, this novel is sure to thrill you. But really, anyone familiar with the ups and downs of family life will find something to relate to here.”
“Besides the secret betrayals that can splinter a family, the book is also about various ways people handle everyday forms of loneliness—a condition that can be a curse, a gift, a justification, or maybe the doorway to the gods.”
“Dazzling . . . A delectable family saga.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“In her first New Orleans novel, Attenberg explores how deeply one person’s life can impact a family for generations—and how people break free from the grip of deeply intertwined webs of toxic family history.” —Deep South Magazine
“The novel takes place in one very long day but encompasses the entirety of lifetimes…Prickly and unsentimental, but never quite hopeless, Attenberg, poet laureate of difficult families, captures the relentlessly lonely beauty of being alive. Not a gentle novel but a deeply tender one.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“Jami Attenberg always creates characters that feel so real you can almost touch them, and in All This Could Be Yours, she does it again. With their patriarch on his death bed, the family of Victor Tuchman gathers to say their goodbyes and figure out why he was the way he was. (And why they are the way they are.) Thoughtful and smart, All This Could Be Yours is a novel that begs to be discussed.”
—Popsugar, “Best 2019 Fall Books for Women”
“Attenberg writes with a deeply human understanding of her characters, and the fact that, when it comes to family, things are rarely well enough to leave alone.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Jami Attenberg hasn’t written a dull book yet…this book gets at some really deep, fundamental truths about family and forgiveness, and sees Attenberg possibly at her strongest yet, with each passing sentence as crisp and urgent as the next. This is another great work by one of our finest novelists.”
“An ambitious and utterly delectable novel about families and their secrets that opens up, pleasurably, like a set of nesting dolls."
“Jami Attenberg's work is so deeply attuned to humans and our imperfect attempts to love each other. All This Could Be Yours is populated by Attenberg's pitch-perfect characters; flawed, recognizable people dealing with big topics--death, family, sex, love--and Attenberg handles it all with an expert touch and a keen sense of what, despite all the sadness and secrets, keeps people connected, striving for moments of beauty and tenderness in a dark world.”
—Emma Cline, author of The Girls
“Set against the vivid backdrop of New Orleans, Jami Attenberg’s extraordinary new novel All This Could Be Yours is a deep dive into fractured family dynamics. In alternating voices, Attenberg expertly weaves together a chorus of love, betrayal and inheritance, each chapter a prism turned, revealing a new spectrum of secrets. Interspersed are gorgeous excavations into fleeting moments with strangers—the checkout clerks and ferry conductors passing through our lives—connecting this singular family into the larger web of life, where everyone is worthy of understanding and no one is without a soul.”
—Hannah Tinti, author of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
“Attenberg crafts families with stunning nuance and depth. She pays tribute to unseen New Orleans with a gaze on the powerful and the downtrodden. Her characters are unforgettable, their predicaments are captivating and their journeys shed light on the inner workings of America.”
—Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of A Kind of Freedom
“Jami Attenberg writes with an unflinching and generous spirit that brings to mind Grace Paley. All This Could Be Yours traces the lasting turmoil of a flawed marriage, and is another marvel of intelligence, humor, and soul.”
—Zachary Lazar, author of Vengeance and Sway
"No one understands the contradictions of the human heart and how our grace and our failures reverberate through our families better than Jami Attenberg. And no one writes about our grace and failures with humor and compassion better than her either. Also—this book’s structure is brilliant."
—Attica Locke, author of Heaven, My Home
“An engrossing story.”
“Attenberg peels back the layers of each character until it feels like you have known this family your whole life.”
—Alma, “Favorite Books for Fall”