OVERRIDE

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

A Novel

Rebecca Miller

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

At fifty, Pippa Lee seems just fine. The devoted wife of a brilliant publisher thirty years her senior, the proud mother of successful twins, and a lovely and adored friend and neighbor, she seems to glow with feminine serenity. But when her husband spontaneously decides they should cast off Gramercy Park for Marigold Village retirement home as a “preemptive strike against his decrepitude,” Pippa finds her beatific persona unraveling in alarming ways: the truth is that the gracious woman of the present day has seen more than her fair share of the wild side. By seventeen, Pippa had lived with a Dexedrine-addicted mother, felt the first stirrings of sexuality with a school girlfriend, had an affair with a teacher, and run away from home, set adrift on a course littered with broken hearts—until she seemingly found love and security in a family of her own. And now that established world, too, is in danger. In Pippa Lee we have an unforgettable heroine, and a quirky and acutely intelligent portrait of the many lives behind a single name. Even after we’ve read it, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is a story that is still unfurling.

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  Part One


Wrinkle VillagePippa had to admit, she liked the house.This was one of the newer units, they were told. Dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, microwave, electric oven, all new. Carpeting, new. Septic tank. Roof. Yet the floor of the basement had a crack in the concrete, and some of the grouting between the tiles in the bathroom was turning dark with mold. Signs of decay, like in an old mouth with gleaming caps glued over the stumps, Pippa thought. She wondered how many people had died in this house. Marigold Village, retirement community: a prelude to heaven. This place
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is about the bewildering ways we become who are, the daily steps we take that end up being called “a life.” It unfolds like a dream, like finding a door in your bedroom that you never noticed before, and slowly opening it, and coming upon a whole world on the other side, a world that you never knew existed. Rebecca Miller knows what all artists know—that it is impossible to reveal a life in its fullness—but in this wise and irreverent novel, the glimpses she allows us are stunning.” —Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

“THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE is a beautifully layered and subtle novel of identity, with a wonderfully vivid sense of place and character. And it's hesitatingly wise in all sorts of ways, as well as being a deftly constructed page-turner.” —Joseph O’Connor, author of Star of the Sea

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Rebecca Miller

  • Rebecca Miller has worked as a painter, actress, and director. She is the author of the short-story collection Personal Velocity, her feature film adaptation of which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance; The Ballad of Jack and Rose; and Angela.
  • Rebecca Miller Ronan Day-Lewis
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The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

A Novel

Rebecca Miller

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