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Kathleen Wilhoite

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an epistolary novel, without epistles — at least, not the conventional kind. Instead, author Maria Semple weaves together emails, school report cards, police reports, FBI files, an emergency room bill, a psychiatrist’s notes, a fundraising letter and more. The only narrative is offered by 15-year-old Bee, one of the most charming teenagers I’ve met in ages. And Bee is not the only charmer. Bernadette—who, as you know from the title, does a disappearing act — is a fabulous creation: an architect who only built one house, won a Mac­Arthur “genius” grant, then gave it all up in a grand snit; an agoraphobic, Seattle-hating Seattleite who can quip with the best; and Bee’s mother, who cherishes her brilliant daughter. The other characters are drawn with the same wit, the subplots unleashed with an accurate, antic take on our world. Kathleen Wilhoite’s reading, lit by a range of voices, accents, cadences and emotions, is a true treat.”
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