Elizabeth Benedict


The hilarious opening of Almost does little to prepare either the reader or the narrator, Sophy Chase, for the drama of what is to come. Almost divorced, Sophy is in bed with her new lover an art dealer and father of four young children when the police call her with shocking news. Her almost ex-husband, Will, has died suddenly on the Massachusetts island where she left him just months before. Dazed and grief-stricken, Sophy takes off at once for Swansea Island, hurled back into a life and family—her husband's grown twin daughters and their prickly mother—she had intended to leave behind. In the tension-filled days that follow, Sophy's past and present collide as she struggles to find out how her husband died, what role she might have had in the sudden disappearance of her boyfriend's ten-year-old daughter, and how she can maintain her equilibrium. The gulf between the island's summer people and its year-rounders is brought vividly to life in the process, as is the particular beauty of a setting that resembles Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. A story about starting over and looking back, about the pain of staying and the consequences of leaving, and about a woman's longing for children, Almost presses us to wonder how much responsibility we bear for other people's happiness—and who exactly we are when we're in limbo. By this riveting novel's end, Sophy has it all figured out—almost.

If your book club is reading Almost, a READER'S GUIDE is available at Houghton Mifflin Books.

Almost was chosen as one of the best novels of the year by:

"This is a beautifully written, fiercely intelligent novel."
Vineyard Gazette

"Acid humor and piercing insight mark this novel about death, divorce, exes, lovers and surrogate children on and off a snototy East Coast island. Benedict materfully follows each small drama with a satisfying, emotional release. The effect is page-turning suspense that doesn't skimp on characterization or intelligence. Such versatility makes it equally suitable for a day at the beach or a few concentrated hours in a more sober setting."
Publishers Weekly

"Benedict's writing is sharp and insightful, and her characters live and breathe."
Library Journal

"Benedict's quick-witted and beautifully crafted novel captures the breakneck speed of NY as we follow the frenetic life of best-selling novelist Sophy Chase...Well-developed characters and a compelling, believable melodrama add up to perfect beach reading."

"Benedict's tragicomic fourth novel possesses deep emotional currents; the real mystery Sophy faces is no less compelling—or complicated—than the human heart." A-
Entertainment Weekly, October 12, 2001

"Almost is a fast-paced, funny, and splendidly intelligent drama. And what a varied, unforgettable cast of characters — young, old, rich, poor, famous, unknown, all of them turned inside out by love and grief. I relished every page."
Edmund White

"Almost is a novel of amazing intimacy, written with clear-eyed intelligence, precision, and wit."
John Casey

Almost was reviewed on Fresh Air (NPR) by Maureen Corrigan on Sept. 18, 2001. These are excerpts from the transcript:


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