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4 1/2 stars (92/100)

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

2012 · Maria Semple · 326 pp

I’m grateful this was recommended to me, because I doubt I’d have picked it up after seeing trailers for the film version (which seems to be quite a misfire, though this material would be immensely challenging to adapt—Blanchett, however, is perfect for the part). Semple employs a “found documents” format that’s normally grating but in this case is downright essential to capturing the complex, contradictory whirlwind that is Bernadette. The result is a flawed and fascinating character I never wanted to let go of. The wrap-up is a little too tidy in places, but the journey is magnificent.

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