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Model home : a novel
Eric Puchner
Adult Fiction PUCHNER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Puchner's heartrending first novel (after the collection Music Through the Floor) traces the gradual ruin of a family in the 1980s. By the time Warren Ziller's car is repossessed-he tells the family it was stolen and tries to keep the family's money woes a secret-he realizes he made a mistake in hauling his family from the Midwest to Southern California to get rich quick on real estate. Warren's wife, Camille, suspects her husband's squirrelly behaviour indicates he's having an affair; 11-year-old son Jonas has developed strange obsessions; 16-year-old daughter Lyle is miserable and misanthropic; and college-bound son Dustin is a handsome surfer with punk rock dreams. The unhappy family's annual camping trip inspires Warren to confess their dire financial straits, earning a momentary reprieve cut short by a natural gas explosion at their house that horribly burns Dustin. The Zillers move to one of Warren's depressing model homes and nearly fall apart until a new crisis involving Jonas creates a tenuous unity. With careful attention to nuanced and fractured perspectives, Puchner teases a fragile beauty out of the loneliness that separates the members of this family. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Warren Ziller has bankrupted himself and his family in an unsuccessful real estate development in the California desert. When he confesses what he has done, his perfect nuclear family spirals out of control. A gas explosion at their own home forces the Zillers to live in one of the development's unsold houses, and family relations deteriorate until Jonas, the youngest son, runs away. His disappearance and eventual safe return jolts the family back to reality, allowing them to move on. Verdict Pushcart Prize winner Puchner, a finalist for NYPL's Young Lions Award for his story collection, Music Through the Floor, mixes humor, pathos, tragedy, love, and the struggle for meaning in the convoluted folds of his first novel. Readers will feel the angst of teenage love, the frustration of plans gone wrong, and the heartbreak of the human condition. For anyone who likes fine writing on contemporary domestic crises.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Ashaway, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Warren Ziller
Moved his family to California to pursue the American Dream; squandered the family's money on a bad real estate deal.

Camille Ziller
Warren's wife; wrongly believes her husband is having an affair.

Age: 17
Falls for his girlfriend's younger sister.

Age: 16
Sleeping with a security guard who works at the gatehouse.

Age: 11
Obsessed with a kidnapped girl.

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