From the author of California. In the Hollywood Hills, a smart, damaged mother of two hires a nanny so she can work on a memoir—but the magnetic younger woman has secrets of her own and things soon take a darker turn.
This is a story packed with wicked and wickedly funny confessions about a host of hallowed subjects ... Woman No. 17 tastes like a juice box of suburban satire laced with Alfred Hitchcock. Lepucki’s witty lines arrive as dependably as afternoon playtime, but her reflection on motherhood and women’s friendships is deadly serious ... Despite the novel’s persistent humor, Lepucki captures the cocktail of love, desperation and guilt that can sometimes poison parents of children with special needs. This is, among many things, a story about the ways we imagine we hurt our children and the ways we imagine they hurt us ... The disclosures that Lepucki engineers in this smart novel are sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious, always irresistible.
All the relationships in Woman №17 are uneasy. The tensions are expertly spun by Edan Lepucki through the heat of the end of summer in LA ... Edan Lepucki’s narrative is sparky and compelling. She draws us into a close-circling world which I think few of us would chose to inhabit but which we are nonetheless fascinated by.
Lepucki revels in playing with genre, yet this book is less interested in noir than in richer questions of identity, art and the ties that bind ... Lepucki is sharp and often funny when skewering contemporary notions of motherhood and the novel is most resonant when excavating Lady’s past with Seth ... There are occasional cracks in the narrative. Esther’s impulse to emulate her mother feels forced, and a plot turn at the end didn’t cohere for me. But as a whole, Woman No. 17 is propulsive and moving, and considers vital questions with empathy and sly intelligence.