By Amy Sohn

(Simon & Schuster, $25, 352 pages)

Who is this author?

Author Amy Sohn knows all about Brooklyn, the borough that went from being hopelessly outer to totally in, and as a columnist for various New York City-based publications, including the New York Post and New York Magazine, she’s got the clips to prove it. She’s written four novels and has made herself an expert on the lifestyles of the hip and famous and those who wish they were both, or either, or at least on their way to being one or the other. Her grasp of  popular culture has garnered her gigs on  VH1, MTV, Fox News, CNN, Lifetime, MSNBC and PBS and she has written pilots for ABC, Fox, Lifetime and HBO.

What is this book about?

Sohn grew up in Brooklyn and still lives there, and her fourth novel, “Motherland,” which picks up where her 2009 novel “Prospect Park West” leaves off, involves moms and dads who spend time in its popular Park Slope neighborhood, as well as Manhattan and Wellfleet on Cape Cod. All of them are privileged, but full of anxieties and prone to making very bad life decisions. Rebecca’s husband has grown distant, rendering her vulnerable to an old boyfriend. Marco, a gay dad, must deal with their kids when his husband travels , so he seeks comfort in anonymous trysts. Danny, a rising screenwriter, ditches his wife kids to pitch a movie (and meet new women) in Los Angeles. Karen, once a “sanctimommy,” gets involved with a hot new guy after her husband cheats and flees.  No longer sought-after actress Melora hopes Broadway can re-start her Hollywood career. And oh what tangled webs they weave when they all practice to deceive.

Why you’ll like it:

Sohn is adept at a kind of deadpan sarcasm that skewers the pretensions of these confused characters who care far too much about what others think of them and doggedly pursue the trendiest fashions, foods, recreation and relationships. The book trains a sharp and satirical eye on contemporary marriage and parenthood, and is the kind of tale that, despite some rather unpalatable characters, keeps you reading to find out what finally happens to them.

What others are saying:

Says Library Journal: “Picking up where Prospect Park West leaves off, Sohn takes her readers back to the never-ending intrigue and drama in Park Slope, a section of Brooklyn where wealthy folks take parenting to an entirely new level…. There’s so much cheating and wrongdoing here, it’s like a superfun Brooklyn Desperate Housewives with erudite characters. And at the core, the threads of parenting weave through the story, connecting the characters via their children. This book is impossible to put down and well written—your heart will be in Brooklyn with this flawed but fascinating cast.”

“A satirical swipe at the Park Slope Crowd of parents reveals promiscuity, secrets, despair and, oh yes, child care. In her fourth novel, Sohn …brings a satirical, soapy yet downbeat focus to the Brooklyn suburb where an Upper West Side and East Village group has relocated “with resignation, for the children’s benefit.” … Sohn’s one-liners add wit and her media insider’s perspective contributes a further layer of dry–if not wholly relevant–commentary. Her cast of characters is neither especially attractive nor sympathetic, not even the crazed stroller-thief, an older resident understandably exasperated by the new neighborhood sidewalk traffic. While the plotlines interknit implausibly (in one case, jaw-droppingly so), relationships reconfigure; some failing, some igniting,” says Kirkus Reviews.

“While Sohn’s sharp, hilarious tale satirizes these affluent, artsy Brooklyn archetypes and their fickle yet predictable Hollywood counterparts, it also explores the waning of passion, the angst of being housebound with kids, and the despair of watching your spouse morph from best friend to apathetic, angry, or needy adversary . . . [Motherland] keeps you hooked—and cackling—until its surprisingly resonant final lines,” says author Cathi Hanauer in ELLE.

When is it available?

It has landed on the new books shelves at the Downtown Hartford Public Library and the Albany and Mark Twain branches.

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