To the Birdhouse

Cathleen Schine

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Newlywed Alice Brody appears to have the perfect life. The one fly in the ointment is her mother’s detestable boyfriend, Louie Scifo: champion of incredibly bad taste and a bona fide stalker. After Alice’s mother cuts him loose, Louie’s determination to win back her love casts Alice’s whole family into disarray. So Alice embarks on a mission to rid her mother of Louie once and for all, in this rambunctious comedy of manners that is at once “dizzying, hilarious, authentic, and original” (Washington Post Book World).


Read an Excerpt

Nothing sounded more
Nothing sounded more inviting to her than settling down. Settling down would be like curling up; it would be like stretching out: it would be comfortable. After circling around a few times, like an Irish setter on the rug before the hearth, she would give a sigh, wag her tail, and then, in a delirious descent toward calm and stability, she would settle down. Alice Brody was getting married.
She was marrying a tall, distracted man named Peter Eiger. Alice was a generous person, in her way, and so it occurred to her that many other people should settle down and


Praise for To the Birdhouse

“Schine has a delicious sense of humor….She has given us delightfully quirky characters who deserve a permanent place in the pantheon of comic creations.” —The New York Times

“Cathleen Schine is a modern-day Jewish Jane Austen. She has written an elegantly comic novel.” —People

“Who else but Cathleen Schine can graft a delicate comedy of manners onto a slapstick farce with such unerring poise and wit? A novel that manages to be this funny is an achievement; one that also possesses grace and depth is a rare bird indeed.” —Chicago Tribune

“A very modern comedy that skewers family life with heart and wit.” —New York magazine

“Funny…joyful…wonderful.” —The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Cathleen Schine

  • Cathleen Schine is the author of The Three Weissmanns of Westport, The New Yorkers and The Love Letter, among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review.
  • Cathleen Schine James Hamilton
    Cathleen Schine


Available Formats and Book Details

To the Birdhouse

Cathleen Schine