The Wonder Garden introduces us to a new voice, while showing us a place that is not: suburban idyll unmasked. The book is a series of stories, gradually intertwining and revealing connections among the inhabitants of Old Cranbury. Acampora has deftly created a community immersed in its American heritage; inhabiting historic homes, the private lives of the characters play out as utterly contemporary and recognizable, but Acampora delivers with polished finesse a sense of disquiet that feels so classical. Applause for her debut; encore, encore!
May 2015 Indie Next List
“This collection of interlinked short stories is one of the best I've read in years. How many of us have often wondered what is going on inside our neighbors' houses? Acampora explores it all -- the hopes, dreams, arguments, perversities, and disappointments. Though set in affluent, suburban western Connecticut, the stories' deeper themes are universal -- think Chekhov and Cheever. Often dark, sad, and funny, and always intelligent and well-written, these stories leave the reader yearning for more by this wonderful new writer.”
— Bob Smith (W), UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center, Storrs Center, CT
An Indie Next Pick
An Amazon Debut Spotlight
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection "Like Wharton, Acampora seems to understand fiction as a kind of elegant design. As characters reappear in one story after another, Acampora reveals herself as a careful architect... lovely prose... often a single sentence twists sinuously, charged with positive and negative electricity."--New York Times Book Review Launched by four starred prepubs and a full page New York Times book review, The Wonder Garden marks Lauren Acampora's rarely seen, sensational entrance into the literary world. With enchanting realism, these linked stories bring to the page the myriad lives of a suburban town, and reveal at each turn the unseen battles we play out behind drawn blinds, the creeping truths from which we distract ourselves, and the massive dreams we haul quietly with us and hold close. Deliciously creepy and masterfully complex The Wonder Garden heralds the arrival of a phenomenal new talent in American fiction. "Acampora's stories show that an Anna Karenina principle still applies: All happy families are the same; the unhappy ones are miserable in their own special way. Or to boil it down to modern terms: mo' money, mo' problems ... Add well-drawn characters, interesting plots, cultural zingers and dead-on critiques of consumerism and Acampora delivers a page-turner."--Dallas Morning News "A smashing debut, with range, subtlety and bite. Reading Acampora, we're in Cheever country, with hints of Flannery O'Connor."--Jane Ciabattari, BBC.com "In 13 sharply drawn linked stories, Acampora reveals the complexities beneath the polish and privilege of a prosperous Connecticut town."--People
About the Author
Lauren Acampora's fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, New England Review, and Antioch Review. Raised in Connecticut, she now lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband, artist Thomas Doyle, and their daughter.