Friends Like Us
With her critically acclaimed debut novel, Still Life with Husband, Lauren Fox established herself as a wise and achingly funny chronicler of domestic life and was hailed as “a delightful new voice in American fiction, a voice that instantly recalls the wry, knowing prose of Lorrie Moore” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times). Fox’s new novel glitters with these pleasures—fearless wordplay, humor, and nuance—and asks us the question at the heart of every friendship: What would you give up for a friend’s happiness?
For Willa Jacobs, seeing her best friend, Jane Weston, is like looking in a mirror on a really good day. Strangers assume they are sisters, a comparison Willa secretly enjoys. They share an apartment, clothing, and groceries, eking out rent with part-time jobs. Willa writes advertising copy, dreaming up inspirational messages for tea bags (“The path to enlightenment is steep” and “Oolong! Farewell!”), while Jane cleans houses and writes poetry about it, rhyming “dust” with “lust,” and “clog of hair” with “fog of despair.” Together Willa and Jane are a fortress of private jokes and shared opinions, with a friendship so close there’s hardly room for anyone else. But when Ben, Willa’s oldest friend, reappears and falls in love with Jane, Willa wonders: Can she let her two best friends find happiness with each other if it means leaving her behind?
A strikingly wise exploration of the bonds people forge and break. Fox delivers on plot, but it’s her insight, emotion, and eye for universal truths that make Friends Like Us memorable.
What elevates this book … are its deeper insights: that growing up is an absurdly nonlinear process, and that, as Willa asks, the real question is ‘How is it that we can live in this world, love people, and then say good-bye to them?’
This novel is ultimately about trust, betrayal and forgiveness. Fox makes you care about Willa and everyone else in “Friends Like Us” long after you’ve finished.