“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.” That’s good advice, in a go-go era when home prices are rising like floodwater, and are just about as dependable. But for a middle-class woman in the McMansion-studded suburbs of Washington DC, it’s hard advice to follow. Who wouldn’t covet eight bedrooms, and a second kitchen by the pool?
McMansions, a new novel by Rachel Wildavsky, is a suburban drama of marriage, divorce and real-estate lust.
Inge Haas, a middle-class, stay-at-home mom. Inge is surrounded by wealthy women with fabulous careers and gorgeous houses. One of them is her old friend, Winifred Dean.
Winifred Dean, a wealthy, divorced, real-estate agent. Win and Inge are friends, until Inge –envious over Win’s new house– introduces Win’s ex-husband to Gwendolyn Brice.
Gwendolyn Brice, a twenty-eight year old kindergarten teacher. Gwen is suffering from her love of the caddish Yves, until Inge introduces her to Win’s ex, Jason Dean.
Jason Dean, a successful lawyer. Jason is brilliant, principled, furious at his ex-wife, and more than ready to fall in love with a sweet woman like Gwen.
Yves, Gwen’s narcissistic ex-lover.
Solange, Yves’ girlfriend, who has had enough of his cheating.
Rick and Stacy, overleveraged parents in the country-club set.
Dan Haas, Inge’s husband, who does not share her lust for a McMansion.
You’ll never expect:
The astonishing ending.