New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard brings us her compulsively affecting new novel about the true meaning—and the price—of friendship. We are honored to host this renowned author as she reads from Under the Influence and invites discussion with a talk and q&a on Thursday, May 19th at 7 p.m.
Helen, an aspiring art photographer, has wrecked her marriage and lost custody of her young son after a drunken driving arrest. At an art opening she strikes up a friendship with a dazzling couple. Ava Havilland adopts Helen with gusto, drawing her into a sparkling social life with her wealthy philanthropist husband, Swift. They begin to fill the aching absence in Helen’s life left by the loss of her son as Helen struggles not to return to the bottle. Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence and begins questioning her relationship with Elliot, Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. Maynard’s propulsive storytelling sets the scene for a fierce and satisfying climax.
“My to-do list had umpteen items on it, but I let them all go to hell as I tore through Joyce Maynard’s latest page-turner. . . . To-do list? What to-do list? Under the Influence is a riveting read.” — Wally Lamb
JOYCE MAYNARD is the author of fifteen books including her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World—translated into sixteen languages—and the novels To Die For, The Good Daughters, and Labor Day (now a motion picture starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin). She first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story, “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life” in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in over fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR and national magazines including Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine,Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, MORE, Salon, and many more. Her essays have been widely published in collections, and featured in The New York Times.