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Bottle grove : a novel / Daniel Handler.

By: Handler, Daniel.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York, New York : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019Description: 227 pages ; 22 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781632864277; 1632864274.Subject(s): Married people -- Fiction | Marriage -- Fiction | Secrecy -- Fiction | Shapeshifting -- Fiction | San Francisco (Calif.) -- FictionGenre/Form: Action and adventure fiction. | Fantasy fiction. | Humorous fiction.DDC classification: 813/.54 Summary: "This is a story about two marriages. Or is it? It begins with a wedding, held in the small San Francisco forest of Bottle Grove - bestowed by a wealthy patron for the public good, back when people did such things. Here is a cross section of lives, a stretch of urban green where ritzy guests, lustful teenagers, drunken revelers, and forest creatures all wait for the sun to go down. The girl in the corner slugging vodka from a cough-syrup bottle is Padgett - she's keeping something secreted in the woods. The couple at the altar are the newly named Nickels, as the bride is emphatic about changing her name - there is plenty about her old life she is ready to forget. Set in San Francisco as the tech-boom is exploding, Bottle Grove is a sexy, skewering dark comedy about two unions - one forged of love and the other of greed - and about the forces that can drive couples together, into dependence, and then into sinister, even supernatural realms. Add one ominous shape-shifter to the mix, and you get a delightful and strange spectacle: a story of scheming and yearning and foibles and love and what we end up doing for it - and everyone has a secret. Looming over it all is the income disparity between San Francisco's tech community and . . . everyone else."-- Publisher description.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A razor-sharp tale of two couples, two marriages, a bar, and a San Francisco start-up from a best-selling, award-winning novelist.

This is a story about two marriages. Or is it? It begins with a wedding, held in the small San Francisco forest of Bottle Grove--bestowed by a wealthy patron for the public good, back when people did such things. Here is a cross section of lives, a stretch of urban green where ritzy guests, lustful teenagers, drunken revelers, and forest creatures all wait for the sun to go down. The girl in the corner slugging vodka from a cough-syrup bottle is Padgett--she's keeping something secreted in the woods. The couple at the altar are the Nickels--the bride is emphatic about changing her name, as there is plenty about her old life she is ready to forget.

Set in San Francisco as the tech-boom is exploding, Bottle Grove is a sexy, skewering dark comedy about two unions--one forged of love and the other of greed--and about the forces that can drive couples together, into dependence, and then into sinister, even supernatural realms. Add one ominous shape-shifter to the mix, and you get a delightful and strange spectacle- a story of scheming and yearning and foibles and love and what we end up doing for it--and everyone has a secret. Looming over it all is the income disparity between San Francisco's tech community and . . . everyone else.

"This is a story about two marriages. Or is it? It begins with a wedding, held in the small San Francisco forest of Bottle Grove - bestowed by a wealthy patron for the public good, back when people did such things. Here is a cross section of lives, a stretch of urban green where ritzy guests, lustful teenagers, drunken revelers, and forest creatures all wait for the sun to go down. The girl in the corner slugging vodka from a cough-syrup bottle is Padgett - she's keeping something secreted in the woods. The couple at the altar are the newly named Nickels, as the bride is emphatic about changing her name - there is plenty about her old life she is ready to forget. Set in San Francisco as the tech-boom is exploding, Bottle Grove is a sexy, skewering dark comedy about two unions - one forged of love and the other of greed - and about the forces that can drive couples together, into dependence, and then into sinister, even supernatural realms. Add one ominous shape-shifter to the mix, and you get a delightful and strange spectacle: a story of scheming and yearning and foibles and love and what we end up doing for it - and everyone has a secret. Looming over it all is the income disparity between San Francisco's tech community and . . . everyone else."-- Publisher description.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

Handler's latest novel for adults (following All the Dirty Parts) is a hilarious tale about unlikely couples set during the San Francisco dot-com explosion. Martin is a 30-year-old co-owner of Bottle Grove bar when he meets Padgett, a woman with a trust fund, sharp wit, and a drinking problem, while they're both working a wedding for Rachel and Ben, and soon become a couple. The wedding ends with a bang when the significant other of Reynard, who is pretending to be a vicar, confronts Reynard about his infidelity and Reynard crashes his car trying to escape her. After the wedding, Martin and his business partner need cash to keep their bar open, and Martin hatches a plan that involves Padgett meeting tech tycoon Vic and enchanting him to get money out of him. Padgett, not in on the scheme, realizes what Martin's doing after becoming involved with Vic, a complicated and famous man with plenty of secrets. Meanwhile, Rachel and Ben are still married, but she's feeling restless and unsettled while Reynard lurks around her, biding his time to seduce her. Handler cleverly exposes the sinister sides of his protagonists as they clamor for what they think they deserve. Readers expecting Handler's trademark humor and bite won't be disappointed. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Handler (All the Dirty Parts, 2017), adored by younger readers for his Lemony Snicket titles, is a prolific jack-of-all-trades who also pens quirky, postmodern love stories mostly set in present-day San Francisco. His seventh novel for adults reaches deep into those modes for a drunkenly humorous blend of alcohol, entrepreneurial ambitions, and a dash of cheating. The misadventures begin on the day of Rachel and Ben's wedding, held at a lush San Francisco park called Bottle Grove. While Martin, owner of a nearby bar, searches for some missing booze intended for the wedding guests, he meets and falls for Padgett, an astute caterer with a penchant for vodka. But the ceremony is doomed after the wedding officiant is caught in a sex act, then disappears. Everyone's got something to hide, including a grieving Bay Area mogul, a shape-shifter, and even Bottle Grove's woodland critters. Handler's clever, highly stylized prose demands alertness in his readers, who may feel tipsy trying to follow the knotted story line. Nonetheless, his quick-witted, timely characters and offbeat but perceptive one-liners make for an intoxicating delight.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Funny, irreverent, and clever Handler is always a big lure.--Jonathan Fullmer Copyright 2019 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Consumed by their baser natures, two San Francisco couples struggle to find happiness within the confines of marriage and immense wealth.Martin Icke, a down-on-his-luck barman, mixes bespoke cocktails at the wedding of Rachel, an anxious socialite about to marry Ben Nickels, a kindly tech underling. Midswizzle, Martin falls for Padgett, a poor-little-rich-girl with an ill-concealed substance abuse problem moonlighting as a waitress. The wedding is disrupted by the trickster wiles of Reynard, a hedonistic spirit that haunts the would-be monogamists of the book, reminding them of their animalistic desires. Affairs, animal experiments, potential kidnappings, and thefts ensue. In particular, Padgett and Martin concoct a scheme to put Padgett in the way of the Vic, a tech scion la Zuckerberg and Jobs who has invented software that tracks your every move and stores it in "the Trail." If only Padgett can capture the Vic's interest, perhaps she can redistribute the immense wealth of Silicon Valley back into the pockets of a man like Martin. Handler (All the Dirty Parts, 2017, etc.) draws on fables like "Reynard the Fox" to comment on the inhumanity of his characters and tips his hat to noir films like Rebecca to pluck at the threads of the marriage plot. Instead of giving readers new ways to think about marriage or cruelty, however, these literary allusions only muddy the waters in a novel overly interested in solipsistic caricature and jagged, cynical pronouncements. Marriage is both a "big con" and "a civilizing influence." Gentrification is the "prowling," beastly instinct of the tech bro. Characters quip endlessly, repeating the same tiresome steps in Handler's wordplay shuffles. "You're icky, Icke," Padgett tells Martin at some point. Reynard's appearance is "not ghastly, just ghostly." A drunkard watches a bar "shimmer as if in a breezy breeze." While the brutal inhumanities of startup culture are ripe for satire and criticism, this novel fails to deliver even a glancing blow.A clunky, garbled novel about marriage, greed, and deception in Silicon Valley at the height of the tech boom. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.