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There Will Never Be Another You

"Carolyn See has written a novel alive with wit and love and energy-a book about things falling apart that turns out to be a day at the beach. . . . Pure joy."-Joan Didion Accomplished author Carolyn See triumphantly returns to fiction-seven years after her last novel was published-with this provocative, vibrantly written new novel. Set in a security-obsessed world that eerily mirrors our own, There Will Never Be Another You captures the paranoia and propaganda of a volatile time and place in which humanity's divisions run deep and society sits on edge-and one Southern California family faces profound crises from within and without. It is a moment in the near future when the global threat of terror has cultivated rage, apathy, and panic across the country. People fear that "anybody could be armed, or have a bomb. Or a disease. Or all three." For Phil, a dermatologist at the UCLA hospital, it is a time of unease and uncertainty, in stark contrast to the days when he coasted through life on his good looks, a modicum of charm, and only haphazard effort. Now Phil must deal with his mother, Edith, who's been grieving over the death of her husband for several years and only recently has thought to reconnect with a family that seems to have other priorities. Phil's energies are already divvied up among his belligerent children, his wayward wife, and his unreliable mistress. Then Phil's life takes a dramatic turn: He is recruited for a top-secret team whose task is to act quickly in the event of a biological or chemical attack. The assignment just may provide him with a renewed sense of purpose. Yet dire circumstances force Phil to make profound decisions that will affect not just himself and his loved ones but the entire country. It is a chance for an ordinary man to rise from mediocrity to heroism-and at which failure would prove to be catastrophic. Foreboding and all too plausible, There Will Never Be Another You is a cautionary novel of family and society, where a naive past is replaced by a menacing future in which distinguishing between reality and imagination proves to be more challenging than ever. From the Hardcover edition.
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About the Author

Carolyn See is the author of many novels, including The Handyman and Golden Days, as well as such acclaimed works of nonfiction as Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers and Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America. She is also a book critic for The Washington Post and has been on the boards of the National Book Critics Circle and PEN/West International. She has won both Guggenheim and Getty fellowships and currently teaches English at UCLA. She lives in Pacific Palisades, California. From the Hardcover edition.


In her first novel since The Handyman (1999), acclaimed writer See returns to a theme first explored in Golden Days (1986): how we live, love, and carry on in an unstable world. Set in the UCLA Medical Center of the near future, There Will Never Be Another You follows three generations of Californians as they struggle to live in a post-9/11 world amid the threat of bioterrorism. As the Los Angeles area weathers one medical crisis after another, the four protagonists of this very real novel-a heartbroken widow, a poetry-loving gangbanger, an innocent coed, and a dermatologist recruited to a highly classified emergency response team-strive to define themselves within and outside the most significant relationships of their lives. The instability of the country pushes each of them to focus on what is important, providing the courage needed to make the decisions that will change their lives. See's true-to-life characters and insight into the human condition power this life-affirming novel. Readers will have no trouble identifying with the resilient protagonists, and they will find comfort in See's nonapocalyptic vision of the future. Recommended for all large fiction collections.-Karen Walton Morse, Univ. at Buffalo Libs., NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Set in Los Angeles of the immediate future and infused with the anxieties of the present, See's potent new novel articulates the instinctive, human impulse toward connection in the face of mortality. The story centers on the UCLA medical center, where cosmopolitan, twice-widowed Edith volunteers, and where her bewildered dermatologist son, Phil, has his practice. Phil is unhappily married to the disgruntled Felicia and clueless about how to help their troubled prepubescent son or relate to their imperious teenage daughter. Edith tries repeatedly to begin her life again, but despairs of new relationships with "death all around." See also follows the love story of UCLA students Andrea Barclay, whose father's kidney is failing (and whose mother is Edith's confidant), and Danny Lee, whose large Chinese-American family gathers to support a dying uncle. Andrea and Danny's headlong romance contrasts with Phil and Felicia's unraveling marriage; the former's cultural differences become part of the point. And Phil becomes part of a bioterrorism response team; the fracturing and coalescing relationships mirror the drama of a possible epidemic as See's utterly believable characters fumble for love and meaning. (May 16) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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