Elinor Lipman

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Ms. Demeanor, a novel

Isabel's Bed

  • 1995 (Hardcover), 1998 (Paperback)
  • Atria Books, Washington Square Press
  • Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, iBook, Audio

Isabel Krug is a glamorous blonde with a tabloid past; Harriet Mahoney is a bookish single would-be writer, unlucky in love, who never takes risks—except one.

She answers an ad in the New York Review of Books, placed by femme fatale Isabel, who wants to tell her story and wants a a live-in ghostwriter. Isabel revamps and inspires Harriet as they gear up to tell all. In the course of this partnership, unexpected alliances are formed, and fulfillment is found where Harriet never thought to search.

Reviews and praise

"If Jane Austen had been born about two centuries later, gone to Smith, then palled around with Fran Lebowitz, chances are she'd have written like Elinor Lipman. She is one of the last urbane romantics....As always, Lipman makes us laugh out loud..."Julia Glass, for the Chicago Tribune

"You can keep your revenge tragedies; for my money there's nothing more delectable than a good revenge comedy. The modern standard has been set by Fay Weldon's The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, but in Isabel's Bed Elinor Lipman has written something at least in the same league: a winsome, even sweet tale of a women spurned and self-redeemed."Los Angeles Times Book Review

"What is so engaging about Isabel's Bed is its droll, deadpan tone. Practically every paragraph contains something that makes you smile or laugh... It is a gift, as well as a skill, to be able to write a well-turned-out phrase that elicits a faint smile, and Elinor Lipman appears to do it effortlessly, page after page."Lisa Alther, for the Boston Globe