Like Normal People

20 Aug 2012

A Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, Los Angeles Times bestseller and one of the Washington Post’s best books of the year, LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE charts the lives of “three richly textured characters whose irreducible idiosyncrasies, griefs, longings, and loves will surely expand our sense of what it means to be like normal people” (Chicago Tribune). The story of this family revolves around an off-kilter center: Lena, who is forty-eight years old but mentally locked in childhood. Following Lena’s escape from her residential home with her troubled twelve-year-old niece and her widowed mother’s search for them, Karen Bender moves deftly between past and present, through three entire lifetimes in a single day, as each character searches for love and acceptance in a world where normalcy is elusive. “Poignantly and brilliantly portrayed” (TimeOut New York), LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE is a hilarious, heartbreaking, unforgettable family drama that resonates long after the last page is turned.

International acclaim for Like Normal People:

Some first novelists arrive on the literary scene already so proficient it’s hard to believe that we are reading their debut effort. This is true of Bender, whose remarkable narrative of three generations of women has the wisdom of mature insight and the grace of empathy and understanding…Bender’s subtle humor, her understanding of a parent’s need to offer protective love and her tolerant view of human nature infuse the story with universality. In the end, this heartwarming novel dealing with societal misfits, family relationships, and loss is about all flawed human beings, “normal” and not.Publishers’ Weekly, starred

Beautifully done. Bender has a remarkable gift for showing how the security of family interrelationship warms chafes, imprisons, and ultimately liberates.Kirkus reviews, starred

This is marvelous writing: energetic, precise, sympathetically alive to the strangeness of ordinary life.New York Times Book Review

Graceful and beguiling—distinguished by lyrical language and a real generosity of spirit.Washington Post Book World

A remarkable fictional debut.Newsday

Poignantly and brilliantly portrayed.Timeout New York

Three richly textured characters whose irreducible idiosyncracies, griefs, longings, and loves will surely expand our sense of what it means to be like normal people.Chicago Tribune.

A luminous, meditative novel on the boundaries between childhood, adulthood and old age. A.Entertainment Weekly

Irreverant and affectionate.Vogue

Radiant…rendered in delicate yet indelible prose…Like Normal People is quietly reminiscent to structure and sensibility of Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.Portland Oregonian

To this vivid portrayal of family dynamics, Bender brings a persuasive understanding of the human condition.Guardian

Grand…Like Normal People is an uplifting and bittersweet testament to uncompromising love.New York Post

A distinguished first novel…a remarkably complex work that attempts to explore lives of three different people in one day.Baltimore Sun

Sweet, funny, and melancholy…Lena has a compelling presence, radiating love, humour, and difficulty in equal measure. Elle (London)

The quality of this book, its true sense of humanity, reminds me of the best of modern authors.Joanne Woodward

Tender, touching, gravely beautiful, Like Normal People presents a luminous world constructed by the purest unconditional love.Carolyn See

Karen Bender writes about the darkness and beauty of love in all its varieties like no one else. Like Normal People is funny and heartbreaking on every page; so smart, so beautiful, so real.Elizabeth McCracken

What an amazing novel: the complexities, imperfections, and triumphs of Karen Bender’s extraordinary characters will keep you rapt from start to finish you’ll love this book.Meg Wolitzer

A remarkable work about the intergenerational ties between women in a family. Utterly original, absolutely believable, these women quickly work their way into your heart and remain there long after the last page is turned. Like Normal People marks the emergence of a tremendously gifted new writer.” —Hope Edelman

Karen Bender writes with magical clarity, descriobing the blessed human confusion of childhood, old age, and what lies in between.” –Cathleen Schine

Her sentences dazzle. Her tender characters reveal an exquisite sensitivity to family love and sorrow. Like Normal People  is the best first novel I’ve read in years.” –Martha McPhee

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