PRESS

Press

The Middlesteins

-A New York Times bestseller
-A USA Today bestseller
-An Amazon Top Ten Best Book of the Year, 2012
-An Amazon Top Ten Best Book of the Month, November 2012
-An IndieBound Pick, November 2012
-The Great Lakes, Great Reads fiction selection for Fall 2012
-People’s Fall Hot List, 2012

The New York Times Book Review (Cover review!)
“Caustic, entertaining and bighearted.” [Link]

The New York Times: Characters Who Take Up More Than Their Share of Room in the Family
“I’m not really interested in writing or reading about people who are nice and easy. I like the problem children.”
[Link]

NPR All Things Considered (Meg Wolitzer)
“The Middlesteins is a tender, sad and funny look at a family and their mother. In fact, it’s so readable, it’s practically edible.” [Link]

People (Kim Hubbard)
“Everyone’s hungry in Attenberg’s satisfying new novel… Attenberg has a fine ear for the minefields hidden in family conversation; her humor lightens the drama and keeps you from wanting to mainline Big Macs yourself. Dig in.”

Washington Post (Ron Charles)
“With a wit that never mocks and a tenderness that never gushes, she renders this family’s ordinary tragedies as something surprisingly affecting. ”
[Link]

O Magazine
“Expansive heart and sly wit…poignant.”
[Link]

Tablet/The New Republic (Adam Kirsch)
“Attenberg’s insightful character study of anger, resentment, and appetite…”
[Link]

Dallas News
“…The most authentic, endearing fictional portrait of a family in recent memory.”
[Link]

Interview
The Middlesteins is a juicy, delicious, dark smorgasbörd of a novel.”
[Link]

Capital New York (profile)
“Debuting again: A good day for Brooklyn novelist Jami Attenberg and ‘The Middlesteins’”
[Link]

Daily Beast
“Warm and expansive, this book is a funny, fresh, take on the timeless theme of family dysfunction.”
[Link]

Grantland [October book recommendations]
“A funnier, shorter Jonathan Franzen novel.”
[Link]

Metro
“Attenberg handles the passage of time and calories in the book with a literary eye.”
[Link]

Newsday
“Attenberg perfectly captures the spoken and internal voices of her three generations of Midwestern Jews, in love and at odds, and delivers a bittersweet ending that ties them together in a hopeful new way.”
[Link]

Shelf Awareness
“Attenberg mines every bit of humor, sadness, poignancy and pathos possible from the story…”
[Link]

Flavorwire [10 new must-reads for October]
“Embarrassingly American…embarrassingly good.”
[Link]

Amazon [best books of October 2012]
“The Middlesteins has a light, tragicomic touch that lends it unexpectedly poignant heft.”
[Link]
Marie Claire
“Compassionate, respectful, and at times sarcastic and hilarious.”
[Download]
People (fall hot list)
“A tragicomedy about a family’s unraveling.”
[Download]

CBS This Morning
“Sleeper hit of the fall”

[Link]
Chicago Magazine (fall culture guide: 5 must-read books)
“Funny and insightful”

[Download]

Booklist (starred review)
“Kinetic with hilarity and anguish, romance and fury.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review) (top 10 fiction books for fall)
“A sharp-tongued, sweet-natured masterpiece of Jewish family life.”

[Link]
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A wonderfully messy and layered family portrait.”
[Download]
Time Out Chicago Fall Book Preview
“Buffalo Grove native Attenberg has long been a great writer of literary fiction who hasn’t found the success commensurate with her skills. That’ll likely change with The Middlesteins, the story of a family in the Chicago suburbs who comically and epically battle when the mother and father divorce.”

[Link]
Kansas City Star
“Deftly comic and acutely sensitive.”

[Link]
Amazon’s Big Fall Books Preview
“The Royal Tenenbaums as written by Jennifer Weiner? Sounds irresistible.”

[Link]
Huffington Post’s Fall 2012′s Must-Reads
“Attenberg’s novel examines the limits of marital love and our cultural fixation with food, as a woman becomes obese.”

[Link]
Flavorpill Fall 2012 Books Forecast
“Sloppy and wonderful.”

[Link]

Capital New York Fall Preview 2012
“A touching, very funny, honest, and sharp look at marriage and relationships, family ties, and, of course, our insatiable national food culture.”

[Link]
Library Journal
“Attenberg finds ample comic moments in this wry tale about an unraveling marriage. She has a great ear for dialog, and the novel is perfectly paced. . . . [She] seamlessly weaves comedy and tragedy in this warm and engaging family saga of love and loss. ”
Jewish Book Council
“Attenberg gives a complicated, loving, absurd, sad, and yes, funny portrait of the larger obsession with addictions, whether food or otherwise, that plagues our American world.”
[Link]

 

The Melting Season

Chicago Tribune
“Attenberg’s narrative voice — a lean, straight-ahead, deadpan tone that cuts cleanly through Catherine’s hypocrisy and self-pity like a laser-guided strike — makes “The Melting Season” singular and disquieting.”
[Link]

Time Out Chicago
“A rich novel, one that begins as a road-trip yarn but then contains enough twists to form a complicated emotional journey.”
[Link]

Elle
“Attenberg’s imagery is picture perfect and, many times, tragic…Her complex characters are not only relatable but share a journey we have all traveled: leaving home and discovering for the first time who we really are and where we belong.”
[Link]

The New York Times
“‘I did not mean to take the money. Well, not all of it,’ is how Jami Attenberg begins her new novel. But Catherine Madison, her protagonist, has taken it — $178,000 in cash stuffed in a suitcase — leaving her estranged husband, pregnant teenage sister and small-town life behind in Nebraska.
[Link]

New York (Daily Intel “21 Questions” Interview)
Q. Who is your mortal enemy?
A. Facebook.
[Link]
Marie Claire (“Need to Read” Interview)
Q. But isn’t she just running away?
A. If you wait for that moment when you feel better at the end of a relationship, it’ll be a long time.  The idea of closure taking place naturally is bullshit – motion is important.
[Download]
Glamour (“Must-Dos List”)
“With a trail of whiskey and Diet Cokes in her wake, Catherine heads west to leave behind a damaged marriage. Reading about her life in Vegas and her road to self-discovery in this novel feels like peeking at a friend’s diary.”
O, The Oprah Magazine
“Great First Line” for February issue
[Download]
Boston Globe
“A quirky soap opera that proves surprisingly endearing.”
[Link]
The Rumpus (Interview)
Q. We’re both female, but we know a lot of male writers… I wonder whether you’d care to generalize about how men’s and women’s different sexual makeups might lead us to write differently.
A: I’ll take a stab and say that because women, in general, feel less entitled than men (for various societal reasons), I think we tend to work harder to please our audiences. Not that we sacrifice our vision, but we are perhaps more keenly attuned with connecting with our readership, and communicating our message.
[Link]
Huffington Post (Interview)
Q. This is a roundabout way of asking how you feel about the state of contemporary fiction written by women.
A: Most of my writer friends are women, and they’re all extremely talented, so of course I think the state of contemporary fiction for women is pretty great. Which is to say there is a ton of amazing work out there. These women are writing hard.
[Link]

Cooking the Books (Video Interview)
“Jami Attenberg eats some dangerously undercooked meat to celebrate the publication this week of The Melting Season, the story of a married woman who leaves her life in Nebraska for Las Vegas.”
[Link]
HTML Giant (Interview)
Q. If you were going to hook up with a person impersonating one legendary musician of your choice, who would that musician be?
A: Maybe like a super young Mick Jagger? Mick Jagger circa Altamont was kind of ridiculously sexy even though he was obviously a total jerk. But if it only had to be for one night…
[Link]
New York Press (Interview)
Q. Your book does have a wide range of characters, especially women. Where’d you find the characters for your book?
A: I kind of just hear people. They kind of start talking to me, which sounds like a crazy person thing to say. Actually the last time I said that, I started getting emails from people asking me if I thought I was psychic, and that’s not really what it is at all. It’s just an accumulation of a lifetime of eavesdropping.
[Link]
Sirens Mag (Interview)
Q. Then again, her real problem is her sexual inexperience. Do you see this as an argument, in a sense, for getting a decent amount of sexual experience before marriage?
A. I don’t want to get any hate mail from Sarah Palin — actually, yes, I do, I’d so frame that. I don’t think that was really the point of the book, but I would probably recommend against teen marriage whenever possible. Get out there in the world. Sow some wild oats. They don’t even have to be that wild. Or even oats. Just try some sowing before you rush into a big relationship, kids.
[Link]
Cincinnati CityBeat
“It’s honest, direct and shows that even difficult, troublesome experiences from the past can still somehow be redeemed in the future.”
[Link]
Courier-Journal
“Attenberg is a brave, honest writer with scary talent, and this novel about a young woman heading west to escape a failing marriage and a small town is her best yet.”
[Link]
Kirkus Reviews
“An intelligent, moving portrait of a journey to self-awareness, with meaty characters and a refreshing absence of psychobabble.”
Booklist
” [Attenberg] renders poignant prose and portrays the desperate behavior of her characters with verve.”

The Kept Man

People Magazine
” …Written in relaxed yet fresh prose, Attenberg’s debut is unabashedly emotional, refreshingly devoid of New York City cynicism and tenderly funny.” [Download]
Interview Magazine
” …An introspective, personal novel about a young woman reclaiming her life. Told with wit and verve, Attenberg’s story turns out to be an apt context for exploring a variety of other issues – from the tacit chauvinism existing within the art world to urban gentrification to questions such as what defines life. ” [Download]
The Oregonian
“The book is rich in sensual details. Attenberg creates a physical world that’s easy to enter, graced with money and full of handsome people, lovely clothes and idle time. Quick, intense sex scenes work within the weave of the larger plot. Against this landscape of privilege and indulgence, Attenberg draws a complicated, pensive emotional landscape best lived vicariously, through her lens of dreamy language.” [Link]
Chicago Sun Times
Q. In flashback sequences, we see that Martin loves Jarvis, but he’s also selfish and eccentric. Did you base him on artists you’ve known?
A. Male artists are very similar and there’s definitely a bad-boy club that exists in the art world. But now after touring with the book, I realize there’s a lot of me in Martin as well. This self-obsession and need for isolation and documenting your life is something I identify with. [Link]
Memphis Flyer
“…a keenly observed, smart, affecting novel. [Link]
WYPL Interview
Jami was interviewed for WYPL’s Book Talk Show. [Link]
The Star-Ledger (Interview)
” Q:Where does Jarvis come from?
A: I’m not her. She’s definitely a wholly New York woman. I knew women like her who embraced New York from an artistic perspective and embraced all their relationships in the same way. Some of these women tend to get stuck in the muse role, and I wanted to acknowledge that.” [Link]
Time Out NY
“Attenberg has a wonderful eye for detail: Her vivid descriptions of Williamsburg-almost a character in itself-are truly engaging. For all of her faults, and there are plenty, Jarvis is likable, with a surprising wit that tempers her bleak situation.” [Link]
Radar
“Attenberg tackles the situation with perfect pitch, riffing on the resulting turmoil when a woman who vowed “till death do us part” stops short of this unorthodox variety of vegetable gardening….Attenberg peels back the countless layers of “plug-pulling” to create a sharply focused narrative, pumping the issue upright with effortless turns of phrase and accounts of the peculiar behaviors in the couple’s unique relationship.” [Link]
New York Sun
“Her prose is vivid, specific, thoroughly considered, and easy to read….Ms. Attenberg, via Jarvis, has a wise, wounded, and empathetic voice, and, more important, she is an able geographer of emotional landscapes. ” [Link]
DC City Paper
“…It is deftly written and very engaging. Jarvis, who begins the novel as a sort of hipster Tammy Wynette, develops into somebody far more interesting: a lonely, angry, determined woman. Her husband may be in a coma, but she’s just coming to her senses.” [Link]
The L Magazine
“Never preachy or sappy, The Kept Man testifies to the power of human connections. At the same time, it captures Williamsburg’s gentrifying grit and gives readers a believable, if at times frustratingly unproductive, heroine to root for.” [Link]
Denver Post (interview)
“Some of her knowledge, she dryly admitted, came from a weakness for artistic boyfriends. ‘I’m really fascinated with these men. I think I’ve dated every starving artist around.’” [Link]
Maud Newton (Discussion w/Kate Christensen)
“KC:How much of this place itself was the impetus for the novel?
JA: The first time I ever visited Brooklyn was about ten years ago, I actually came to a party in the very building I live in now. (I’ve lived here for about five years.) And it couldn’t have been any more raw or industrial or wild at that time, and I instantly fell in love with it. ” [Link]
The Brooklyn Paper (interview)
“‘Everyone I see on a daily basis is doing something creative and there’s a lot of energy here,’ Attenberg said. ‘There is that Park Slope, Carroll Gardens writer…people think that’s where the literary scene is. And Williamsburg gets seen more as a painter and musician’s scene, but I like that we’re a bit of a secret weapon.’” [Link]
Largehearted Boy (Discussion with Ryan Walsh)
“RW: There’s a lot of art within art in this book. The novel describes a lot of photography, paintings, and even some music in vivid detail. I’m betting that was a lot of fun to do. Because you’re so adept at writing, in a way, you get to become a master of all mediums.
JA: I’m so glad you changed the subject so we can stop talking about dead bodies. ” [Link]
LAist (Interview)
“Q:Have you run across “kept men” in LA or is that a predominantly NY thing?
A: I can’t really speak for LA but I would imagine any city where there’s a lot of money and attractive men, the possibility is high. And last time I checked, there were a lot of good-looking men in Los Angeles. ” [Link]
Ed Rants (Interview)
“For my first 2008 interview, I met up with writer Jami Attenberg at her Williamsburg apartment. During our conversation, Attenberg’s very friendly and intelligent cat, Cracker, proceeded to climb upon my leg and claw at the wires. He then deposited his slinky corporeal mass upon my lap and, later, climbed atop the table and deliberately occluded my notes. I was then forced to wing a portion of the interview. ” [Link]
Zulkey (Interview)
“Q:How much do you think having a last name that begins with an A impacts your books’ visibility? And what does that say for me?
A: I think you’re fucked, Claire. ” [Link]
Bostonist (Interview)
“What’s most impressive about Attenberg’s work is her ability to capture the liveliness of Williamsburg in words, and her description of the paintings and photos made by Jarvis’ husband make the paintings seem tangible, like you could see them in a gallery right this minute. ” [Link]
Gabriel Brice (Interview)
“Q:Before you do a reading, are you nervous? Or do you feel like you are in your element?
A: I guess it depends on the reading. When I do big New York readings I sometimes get nervous because everyone I know is there, and sometimes I shake and my voice quavers and when I try to hold it in – and this is true – all that is left is my butt shaking. Sometimes it helps to have a drink beforehand. (But only one. Because two will really fuck things up.) ” [Link]
Seattlest (Interview)
“We left it up to Jami Attenberg to pick a spot in a not-so-crowded Bauhaus Coffeehouse this morning, and somehow she managed to find the cavelike area behind and below everything that goes on in a not-so-crowded coffeehouse. Overtired, pre-caffeinated and maybe a little bit getting sick, Attenberg seemed comfortable in the cave.” [Link]
RetroLowFi
“Attenberg’s novel is simply beautiful…Through all of Jarvis’s mistakes and joys, Attenberg makes every moment vivid and poignant, be it by her rhythmic syntax or the constant attention to something as simple as color.” [Link]
Connecticut Post
“There is another “kept man” looming in the background of this beautifully written page-turner, however – Jarvis’ artist husband, Martin, who has been in a coma for six years when the story starts…Attenberg juggles light comedy and looming personal drama with great ease. ” [Link]
Paper Magazine (Interview)
” Q:And the ‘Kept Man Club’ featured in the book – based on any real club or group of men?’
A: I swear to God, I have met at least ten real-estate-agent/actors in Williamsburg cafes who have like one tiny part in a shitty experimental play a year, but live in these two-million-dollar condos because their wives have big fancy jobs. They sure are pretty, though. Kept men are the new kept women, for real.” [Download]
Venus Magazine
” The Kept Man deftly deals with the issues of identity, loyalty, the dynamics of New York’s art scene, and the ethics of euthanasia. It’s full of surprising twists, erotic encounters, and philosophical meditations. Attenberg knows how to tell a story that’s both socially relevant and a fun read.” [Download 1, Download 2]
San Francisco Chronicle
” Attenberg has an admirable sense of fun – every time Jarvis gets dressed up for a party, we wish we could go with her. ‘The Kept Man’ also displays a keen ear for dialogue and a half-cynical, half-affectionate tone that makes even the most venal characters likable.”
Kirkus Reviews
“She writes of longing and mourning with extraordinary heart. She muses on the Big Questions – euthanasia, faith, mortality – while taking time out to incorporate savagely funny lines: ‘Judith was a cokehead, as well as a diabetic, a brilliant combination of death wish and death sentence.’ A likable novel marked by a profundity of feeling.” [Download]
Library Journal (Starred Review)
” Short story writer Attenberg (Instant Love) successfully demonstrates her talent and experience in her debut novel…An engaging and innovative first novel for all fiction collections.” [Link]
Ain’t It Cool News
“[It has] an amazing opening line. ‘I have been waiting for my husband to die for six years.’ It probably ranks right up there with some of the best first lines I’ve read in a long time, and by the time you realize that you’ve been hooked, it’s too late as you’ve been sucked into a story that is both mesmerizing and gruesome to witness. ” [Link]

Instant Love

O Magazine
On the “What You’re Really Going to Want to Read this Summer” list:
“Never get b/w a man and his mastiff: That’s the one hard lesson in ‘Instant Love’ (Shaye Areheart), Jami Attenberg’s fiction debut-connected tales of women who angle online, offshore, out of town, and in country for men they’re afraid to catch. ‘To give into complete satisfaction,’ muses a rueful loner in ‘Sarah Lee Waits for Love, ‘is to allow that it can disappear as quickly as it arrived.” Reality Bites.” [Link]
Baltimore City Paper
“First-time novelist Jami Attenberg’s ‘Instant Love’ is composed of chronological vignettes that are relatable and precise. The scenes of wanting love and/or sex and/or distraction and/or companionship kill.” [Link]
North Bay Bohemian
“But Attenberg’s gift goes far beyond a sharp eye for the lonely inward graces of the twenty-something life and the obsessive lure of pop music. Her voice is angular and incisive, a reminder of how difficult fiction is to compose, because, in telling stories, one must relentlessly tell the truth. And if nothing else, Attenberg’s truthful make-ups are brave… One hesitates to hail any one voice as being emblematic of a generation or claim any other weight so awkward for an emerging artist, but Attenberg’s smooth wisdom is both tingle and tonic.”
Philadelphia City Paper
From their Summer Book Quarterly:
“Maggie and Holly and several other women experience sex and love, as well as approximations of both, and contemplate all of it with a snarky, unsentimental wit…for the most part, Attenberg’s language is spot-on, walking that fine line between cutesy and brilliant with stunning alacrity.” [Link]
Small Spiral Notebook Interview and Review
“What’s most intriguing about these stories are the tangential glimpses of the three women as they are seen through the eyes of family members and friends, a clever device that builds slowly from story to story. These small character traits create a three-dimensional view of each woman, that expands the third person limited point of view.” [Review Link + Interview Link]
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
On their summer reading list:
“Three very different women who are caught in the web of desires and disappointments that often characterize the search for love are the foundation for this delightful debut…’Instant Love’ is far from froth, despite its considerable humor; this novel is filled with hard-won truths about the costs and compromises of the matching game.” [Link]
Venus Zine
“Jami Attenberg’s dry wit, effective use of structure, and portrayal of characters who are at once familiar and unpredictable places her on the literary shelf along the likes of Lorrie Moore. Though the book’s attitude toward its subject is cynical, you’re sure to fall in love with Instant Love.”
Publishers Weekly
“Written in a sparse style that puts Attenberg’s background as a journalist to strong use, this funny, perceptive debut earns its hopeful if uncertain ending, giving wisdom to a sentiment as saccharine as one character’s belief ‘that we are the sum of all of the loves before us until we reach our one great love.’” Read more.
The Tripwire
“Jami Attenberg’s fictional debut, ‘Instant Love’, is as refreshing and slightly unnerving as the garishly colored Popsicle melting on its cover…Sharp, funny and wry, Attenberg’s prose is the star of the show here.” [Link]
Curled Up
“With persistent precision, the author pulls her protagonists’ lives apart like fragile butterfly wings, exposing the soft underbellies of disappointed youth and the harsh reality of adulthood, the defense mechanisms that become more practiced with age and experience. In edgy prose, Attenberg speaks the language of her generation…” [Link]
RetroLowFi
“‘Instant Love’ helps show that, regardless of experience, it’s true, most women are on a quest for some form of love. Moreso, they have no fucking clue what they’re doing in their search. And quite frankly, Instant Love is gorgeous. Not only is it relevant, it gives the reader the sense that even your closest friends are just as confused and screwed up as you are, even if they don’t let on.” [Link]
Jive Magazine
“‘Instant Love’ has a strong theme of loneliness but also an equally strong feeling of hope and, most importantly, a sense of humor. Jami Attenberg writes with wit and honesty. Be forewarned, you won’t be able to put this book down.” [Link]
Nancy Pearl’s Picks
“Jami Attenberg’s ‘Instant Love’ is a winsome collection of (sometimes tenuously) related short stories, all focusing on the varieties and vagaries of love over a period of years in the lives of three young women, their friends, and their lovers. It describes – in ways that will make your heart clutch up in painful remembrance – those moments of precise realization that come with falling in love, or out of love.” [Link]
Until Monday Interview
“Q: Do you find literary inspiration in Brooklyn?”
“A: The graffiti on the warehouses alone could inspire a novel.” [Link]
New York Magazine
Instant Love made it onto the Approval Matrix! [Link]
The Omaha Reader Interview
“Her debut collection of stories, ‘Instant Love’, charts with humor and candor the light-dark love journeys of three women, sisters Holly and Maggie and little girl lost Sarah Lee, over a two-decade period of experimentation, commitment, entanglement and self-realization.” [Link]
ASAP News Service Interview
“In a materialistic literary genre full of Prada-wearing devils, struggles with trendy diets and high-heeled shoes, Attenberg is writing fiction that speaks more to the down-and-dirty girls out there. The kinds that pick up guys at bars and eat Taco Bell. Women who seduce guys to hurt them and troll chat rooms for sex. With another book already slated for next year, Attenberg is getting people’s attention. Her style is sleek and inviting and can sometimes be darkly reminiscent of Mary Gaitskill or A.M. Homes.” [Link]
Eight Forty-Eight Show Interview
Jami was interviewed for Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight Show. Listen directly from the website.
Write and Publish Your Book Interview
“If you’ve stapled your own chapbook and wondered if you just punctured your chance to be a published writer, if you need hilarious, rock-solid inspiration for getting your book out there, if you seek to know someone who is an absolutely dedicated and cool author then you need to know this girl. Jami Attenberg is a blogging, picture taking, bold writing gem of a girl from New York City.” [Link]
Largehearted Boy: Booknotes
“When Jami Attenberg’s collection of stories, Instant Love showed up in my mailbox, two things moved it to the top of my reading list. First, Emily Flake (a Book Notes contributor, herself) contributed an illustration for every short story. Second, Attenberg is a friend of one of my favorite bloggers and GBV fans. These eleven stories are about love and loneliness, and the narrow, slippery chasm that often separates the two.” [Link]
Metroblogging Seattle Interview
Q:Congratulations on making it onto Oprah’s summer reading list. Did that involve trading the rights to your first born, or was her price steeper?

A: I think we all know that there will be no joking about Oprah.” [Link]