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“This feels like an Ian McEwan novel. Served on a bed of Cheever. I can’t offer higher praise than that. But written by a woman. Which is even better.”― Elizabeth Gilbert

Spanning the course of a single summer, Private Means is acclaimed memoirist Cree LeFavour’s sumptuous fiction debut―a sharply observed comedy of manners and a moving meditation on marriage, money, and loss.

A deliciously compulsive first novel from New York Times Editor’s Choice author of Lights On, Rats Out, Cree LeFavour’s Private Means captures the very essence of summer in a sharply observed, moving meditation on marriage, money, and loss.

It’s Memorial Day weekend and Alice’s beloved dog Maebelle has been lost. Alice stays in New York, desperate to find her dog, while her husband Peter drives north to stay with friends in the Berkshires. Relieved to be alone, Alice isn’t sure if she should remain married to Peter but she’s built a life with him. For his part, Peter is pleased to have time alone―he’s tired of the lost dog drama, of Alice’s coolness, of New York. A psychiatrist, he ponders his patients and one, particularly attractive, woman in particular. As the summer unfolds, tensions rise as Alice and Peter struggle with infidelity, loneliness, and loss. Escaping the heat of New York City to visit wealthy friends in the Hamptons, on Cape Cod and in the Berkshires, each continues to play his or her part in the life they’ve chosen together. By the time Labor Day rolls around, a summer that began with isolation has transformed into something else entirely.

Matching keen observations on human behavior with wry prose, Private Means, with its sexy, page-turning plot, will draw fans of Nora Ephron and Meg Wolitzer. At once dark, funny, sad and suspenseful, LeFavour’s debut is a rare find: a tart literary indulgence with depth and intelligence.

Cree LeFavour is the author of several cookbooks, including the James Beard Award-nominated Fish. She has a BA from Middlebury College and a PhD in American Studies from NYU. Her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times Book ReviewO MagazineThe Times (London), and Bon Appetit.

Dwight Garner is an American journalist and a longtime writer and editor for the New York Times. In 2008, he was named a book critic for the newspaper.


Event date: 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

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Private Means Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802148889
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Available to Ship to Your Home
Published: Grove Press - August 11th, 2020