The Stager

 

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ADVERTISED.
A 1000-square-foot master bedroom suite, an expansive kitchen with new stainless steel appliances, an indoor gymnasium, and a swimming pool set on 1.5 meticulously landscaped acres in a tony, gated golf-course community.

 

UNADVERTISED.
A twisted, darkly comic backstory. Also, a mysterious stench, a meddling fifth-grader, and a fabulously destructive pet rabbit.

 

Most buyers take three to six minutes to decide if they like a home. As a Stager, Eve Brenner orchestrates the quick, shallow cosmetic fixes that make a house desirable to a prospective buyer. But when she steps into the faux-Flemish home of an investment banker and her tennis-star husband, the Stager finds herself slipping into a rabbit hole of emotional treachery from which she’s not sure she can escape.

reviews

Chicago Tribune, Editor's Choice: "Even brilliant social satires can be limited, but Susan Coll is so slyly perceptive, so attentive to nuanced relationships between people that she gets at how we conform life to the stories we tell ourselves."

 

Kirkus Reviews: "Coll’s vicious depiction of upper-upper-middle-class suburbia is often excruciatingly funny."

 

Washington Post - Julie Klam: "Susan Coll writes about her home town with an insider’s hilarious, mocking affection...Throughout this antic tale, Coll  shows us what happens to people when they don’t feel heard or seen, when they wind up walking around as human versions of a house that’s been carefully denuded of the things that made it warm and welcoming — that made it a home."

 

Washingtonian: "Coll tips her hand that we're reading not a plain parody of suburban dysfunction but the work of a very good comic novelist subverting conventional structure and perspective…chuck your attachment to reality and cheerfully follow Coll down the rabbit hole."

 

Booklist: "Overgrown houses, failed planned communities, and a consumerist culture contrast with the stager’s efforts to declutter and sterilize in this offbeat social satire. Coll takes on marriage, friendship, and fidelity to dark-comic effect."

 

Cathleen Schine, author of Fin & Lady and The Three Weissmanns of Westport: "Sometimes a book just takes you by the hand and swings you deliriously in a new dance – that is The Stager, Susan Coll’s  brilliant comic novel. Peopled by rabbits and woefully wise little girls, by adulterers and other unfortunate adults, this is a world sharp with secrets, grudges, mania, odors and profound sweetness. I loved it."

 

Lisa Zeidner, author of Love Bomb:: "What a delight to follow Susan Coll on her tour of one family’s surreal unraveling.  Sly and wise, Coll is a stager extraordinaire, allowing us to peer behind the curtain of suburban success and excess.  I loved this novel’s wild wit.  Now I want to adopt the Jorgenson family’s precocious kid—and their stoned rabbit."

 

Dylan Landis, author of Normal People Don’t Live Like This:: "Dark, luminous, and hilarious, The Stager draws its radiant power from the great time-tested themes: love, betrayal, and the redemptive power of rabbits. At the height of her powers, Susan Coll reveals her mastery of the wry and the delicious line, of the bizarre and tender moment---and of hope."

 

susan’s books