Better Homes and Husbands

Valerie Ann Leff

St. Martin's Press

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980 Park, a fictional, pre-war co-op on the Northwest corner of Park Avenue and 83rd Street, houses the rich and famous-Sidney Sapphire, the blonde anchorwoman of ABC News, Angela Somoza, the gorgeous Nicaraguan jet-setter, Bob Horowitz, the former chairman of the United Jewish Appeals, and the usual collection of banking and industrial CEO's, Wall Street magnates, and white-haired philanthropists. The Brooklyn-born doorman, Vinnie Ferretti, joins the ranks when he becomes a major fashion designer.

The building's board, rich as clotted cream, sips gin in the afternoons and devises ways to keep out anyone deemed "inappropriate." Stifled resentments come to a head when the French baroness in the penthouse dies, and two Jewish families in the building suspect the co-op board of more discrimination with regard to prospective buyers than might be legal.

Better Homes and Husbands is a stylish, richly woven novel about class and caste feuds, played out with ferocity and etiquette in a posh New York apartment building during the tumultuous period of social change between 1970 and 2000.

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BETTER HOMES AND HUSBANDS (Chapter One)The Building

On the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the building is limestone and red brick, a heavy front door of black iron tracery, a gray canvas canopy with its white-lettered address, Nine-eighty Park Avenue. Here, wealthy New Yorkers occupy grand apartments with their children, cooks and maids. A super lives in the basement, managing doormen, handymen. Throughout the year, drivers in long shiny cars wait by the curb. Nannies push strollers to Central Park, and delivery boys bring groceries around to the service entrance.

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Praise for Better Homes and Husbands

"A novel of manners written with skill and heart and powers of observation as sharp as a boning knife -- my idea of heaven."
- Beth Gutcheon, author of More Than You Know

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About the Author

Valerie Ann Leff

Valerie Ann Leff is co-director of the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. Portions of this novel have appeared in The Antioch Review, Chelsea, Lilith, and the South Carolina Review.

Valerie Ann Leff

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Available Formats and Book Details

Better Homes and Husbands
Valerie Ann Leff

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
June 2005
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429939225
ISBN10: 1429939222
272 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
June 2005
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312330637
ISBN10: 0312330634
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 272 pages
$18.99
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