Elinor Lipman

A Suitable Website


Now Featuring

Ms. Demeanor, a novel

On Turpentine Lane

  • 2017
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Hardcover

At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater.

It's a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state). And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he's Chagall.

When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence...

Reviews and praise

"Light and tight, On Turpentine Lane is constructed with an almost scary mastery. Not a single thread dangles, not a single character is left without a place in Faith's world. The story folds out and back in as neatly as an origami flower, and Faith recounts it all with a raised eyebrow and plenty of cheek." Michelle Wildgen, for The New York Times Book Review

"Lipman has taken lessons from our great chroniclers of the quotidian, from Geoffrey Chaucer to Jane Austen. The result, in On Turpentine Lane, provides a light but serious antidote to what ails us all these days." Washington Post

"If my life ever gets rewritten as a rom-com novel, I'd want Elinor Lipman to do it; she has a way of crafting books so utterly charming that you want to set up residence inside them. And yet, in a seemingly effortless balance, she's never saccharine, but writes in a wry, warm, we're-all-friends-here-so-let's-have-a-drink tone." Seattle Times

"If there were a Fitbit to track Elinor Lipman's witty observations in this novel, its number would be high . . . The character of Nick, Faith's co-worker, evolving pal and secret admirer, shares a subtle synchronicity with our author. Like Lipman, he's a sardonic bystander, observant and appealing. Turpentine symbolizes the house's poisons, but many characters, mysteries and glittering dialogue bring on the surprising merriment." The Improper Bostonian

"Truly a peak reading experience. Every page was packed with wonders." Maria Semple

"With a witty cast of characters and her usual delightful dialogue and insightful observations of human behavior, Lipman captures the complications of modern love." Publishers Weekly