1 of 3
Laura & Emma
352 pages; Simon & Schuster
Laura, the protagonist in Greathead's absorbing debut novel, insists that money "just doesn't interest" her. Her disinterest is a privilege that stems from having so much of it. Her parents pay for her apartment (a big deal in New York, even in the 1980s), and her family name assures her easy work at a small museum, formerly her great-grandfather's private residence. After an out-of-character one-night stand, however, Laura's life takes an unexpected turn, and she gives birth to a daughter, Emma. Single motherhood is unchartered terrain for women of Laura's social standing, but she never strays very far from her comfortable roots, the four-story brownstone of her childhood, where her parents' housekeeper cooks and cleans and even cares for baby Emma. Laura is a wonderfully complex and, at times, frustrating character: ashamed of the old-money world from which she came, but not so brave or ambitious as to abandon it altogether, and the novel, for all its humor and sharp observations, is imbued with the loneliness at her core.
— Julia Pierpont