by Amy Fusselman
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Pub Date 06 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 01 Nov 2022
"The Means is such a fast-paced, breezy comedic novel that you may find yourself surprised that Fusselman deftly and directly leads you to existential dilemmas and the absurdity of capitalism and striving for more." – The Millions
Shelly Means, a stay-at-home mom and disgraced former PTA president, is poised to get the one thing in life she really wants: a beach house in the Hamptons. Surely, once she has her beach house, Shelly will at last feel at peace, in control, and content. It might be a very small house, and it might be in the least-fancy part of the Hamptons, but Shelly is hell-bent on achieving this idea of paradise.
But what should be a simple real estate transaction quickly goes awry as Shelly’s new neighbors disapprove of her proposed shipping container house at the same time that her spouse George’s lucrative work as a VoiceOver artist dries up. When George wants to cancel the beach house, Shelly goes deeper down the rabbit hole of capitalism: it’s an investment property! It's a community! It’s a place for their children to thrive! And, for a woman whose labor has buoyed her family for years, this beach house might just be Shelly’s last stand.
The debut novel from “one of our best interrogators of how we live now, and how we should live” (Dave Eggers), The Means is a comedy about the suffering inherent in desire, capitalist delusion, and the value of unpaid labor.
"With its deadpan absurdity, pithy prose and moral je ne sais quoi, Fusselman's latest will appeal to fans of Marcy Dermansky....With its satire of the particular hypocrisy of the Hamptons, including homeowners associations, graft, and garbage and recycling practices, Maria Semple....We may be entering a golden age of the comic novel, surely one of the best possible outcomes of this desperate moment in history." – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)