The Bride of Catastrophe A Novel

Heidi Jon Schmidt




Trade Paperback

432 Pages



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This novel tells the funny if heartbreaking story of Beatrice Wolfe's quest to escape the gothic eccentricity of her family and find an authentic identity of her own.

Married in a misbegotten passion, Bea's parents are totally unsuited to farming or to any kind of business. The four Wolfe children's lives are ruled by their mother, whose larger-than-life demands and fears encircle them in a darkly comic web of contradictions. When they finally lose their "farm," Bea's family spirals out of control.

As her siblings live out the consequences of their parents' ruinous romance, Bea struggles to find a truer love for herself. While under the spell of a glamorous college professor, she joins a lesbian community and becomes so committed to her new gay life that she barely notices she's falling in love with a man—a man just risen from the ashes of addiction, whose re-creation of himself she threatens to undo.

In The Bride of Catastrophe, Heidi Jon Schmidt explores the magnetic effect of love in all its variations—its power to form and sometimes deform us, to change us and make us who we are.


Praise for The Bride of Catastrophe

"Energetic, garrulous, and funny . . . [Written] with characteristically affectionate yet biting wit."—The Washington Post

"Comically beautiful. In polished, nearly Austenian prose, [Schmidt] blurs the lines between nostalgia and self-examination, inanity and tragedy, as the misguided Beatrice tries her hand at love—of all sorts."—The Village Voice

"This book blazes with light, intelligence, and tremendous humor. Schmidt tells a story that sends sparks flying, and yet grounds us in the rendering of real people whose desires, despairs, successes, and failures all poignantly tug at the heart. There is line after line of hilarious and desperate truth here—what a joy to read."—Elizabeth Strout, author of Amy and Isabelle

"The Bride of Catastrophe is hilarious even as it veers to the edge of tragic. The novel's sensibility keeps you reading and laughing, sometimes a little nervously, because you really want Beatrice to get a grip on life before the book's final pages. Heidi Jon Schmidt's wicked and dark humor makes perfect, crazy sense of the unlikeliest elements—from a Ping-Pong ball factory to the intricate personal politics of a lesbian community. The brio and originality of her short stories are alive and well in this wonderful novel."—Katherine Weber, author of The Little Women and The Music Lesson

"Schmidt has a keen eye for detail and a sharp sense of humor."—Publishers Weekly

"Schmidt's first novel will comfortably share the shelf with works such as John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire and Paul Theroux's Mosquito 26Coast. All are comic novels about closely knit families tragically run amok owing to the excesses and neglect of one or both parents. Those who carry the baggage of childhood or continue to strive to please their parents on into adulthood will want to read this book."—Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Heidi Jon Schmidt is the author of the acclaimed story collections The Rose Thieves and Darling? both available from Picador. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
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  • Heidi Jon Schmidt

  • Heidi Jon Schmidt is the author of the acclaimed story collections Darling? and The Rose Thieves. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.



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