Split Estate

A Novel

Charlotte Bacon

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A wonderfully tough-minded novel from a master dramatist of the poignant, interwoven crises of modern life
 
Split Estate opens with devastating scenes of a family at a horrific juncture: the wife of Arthur King and mother of his two teenage children, Celia and Cam, has recently committed suicide, jumping out the window of their New York apartment.

Charlotte Bacon’s luminous new novel tracks the King family as it struggles to survive in the months that follow. Arthur, an attractive lawyer who has always been edgy about city dwelling, decides they must move back to his home state of Wyoming for the summer, where his mother, Lucy, welcomes her orphaned grandchildren and her wounded son to her much loved but diminished ranch. From the perspective of each protagonist in turn, we watch shy Celia and handsome Cam, distraught Arthur and brave Lucy face themselves and their future in a Wyoming that is beautiful and consoling, yet beset by new threats of destruction.

A split estate is a form of real property in which the mineral rights have been split off from the other land uses to which the owner is entitled. This has transformed the landscape the Kings love and jeopardized Lucy’s independence. In truth, the Kings’ very lives have become split estates—for Celia, on the brink of adolescence; for Cam, approaching independent adulthood; for Arthur, divided between the West and New York. Split Estate is a heartrending depiction of an American family sturggling to deal with irrevocable damage to their lives and surroundings.

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Book Excerpts

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Excerpt
In April, the second woman jumped. “It happened again,” was all Cam told Arthur.
“Oh God,” Arthur said into the receiver. He had his palm on his forehead; the light angled in a golden wedge across his desk, his papers. Dust sharpened to particles of gray diamond. The news about Laura had created the same terrible brilliance. He’d also found out by phone, and again the day, which had been pressing steadily forward, had snapped as inevitably as bad rope.
“Mrs. Van Buren,” his son said. “The mother of this kid in eighth grade.

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Reviews

Praise for Split Estate

"Charlotte Bacon has an acute understanding of how grief can yield, in the tiniest increments, to healing and renewal. She is so beautifully attuned to both inner and outer landscapes that each character in Split Estate (and especially its teenagers) moves at a wholly convincing pace through layers of pain and bewilderment toward a tentative wholeness. But Bacon is too honest to make any of this easy or final and too fine a writer to offer up a single uninteresting page."  —Rosellen Brown, author of Before and After

 

“The prose of novelist Charlotte Bacon’s Split Estate is as unflinching and raw as the Wyoming landscape in which most of the book is set . . . Bacon adeptly captures the less obvious and less pretty aspects of the King family’s grief . . . There are no easy resolutions here, just haunting meditations on character that are as compelling as they are austere.”—Adelle Waldman, Time Out New York


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About the Author

Charlotte Bacon

Charlotte Bacon is the award-winning author of There Is Room for You (FSG, 2004) and Lost Geography (FSG, 2000). She lives in Bali with her husband and two children.

Charlotte Bacon

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Available Formats and Book Details

Split Estate
A Novel
Charlotte Bacon

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
December 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466835221
ISBN10: 1466835222
304 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
December 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312428211
ISBN10: 0312428219
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$18.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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