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A Window Opens
By Elisabeth Egan
384 pages; Simon & Schuster

Part satire of the Internet age, and part winsome, readable story, A Window Opens follows Alice Pearse, a mother of three, as she rejoins the full-time workplace while also caring for her recently unemployed husband and her terminally ill father. Her new company is called Scroll—a business determined to create a digital world beyond carbon-based books, where most of Alice's co-workers speak a language made up of acronyms and corporate lingo. "We joked about how old we were compared to our colleagues," says Alice to her similarly befuddled cubicle-mate. "They didn't write anything down! They didn't answer email, either, which could be disconcerting; were we really supposed to learn to IM?" Where Egan shines is showing the human, messy cost of Alice's attempts at balance. Despite the humorous asides, there's a core of melancholy as Alice manages the stress of her father's slow decline, a stress that takes precedence, ultimately, over her desire to help her company dominate the future of books and video games. Scroll may want Alice to be less than human, an automaton figuring out how to sell experiences to people ready to become zombies, but Egan makes sure to keep Alice's experience funny, real and relatable. A natural for book clubs.
Elisabeth Donelly