Literary Sunshine

Novelist Emma Straub MFA’08 warmly explores family life in "All Adults Here."

Emma Straub

Straub touches on fraught topics while maintaining a feel-good mood. Melanie Dunea

In May, Emma Straub MFA’08New York Times bestselling author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers — released All Adults Here: A Novel, also a New York Times bestseller. The book opens with a pivotal moment for the protagonist, Astrid Strick, as she witnesses a school-bus accident that kills a longtime acquaintance. Strick, a 68-year-old widow and mother, is left feeling shaken, and the incident surfaces a repressed memory from her early parenting days that causes her to confront her mistakes.

The novel was Jenna Bush Hager’s May pick for her Read with Jenna book club on the Today Show. “[The book is] bright and colorful, and you can escape into it,” she said during the broadcast, “but it still — even though it’s witty and funny — it still explores really great themes, like family and identity and forgiveness.”

"All Adults Here" book coverThe New York Times echoed that sentiment in May, saying, “ ‘Literary sunshine’ is a good way to think of Straub’s work. Her writing and tone are consistently bright and straightforward; her approach to character is warm and generous. … All Adults Here touches on fraught topics like coming out, gender identity, marital infidelity, abortion, and predatory behavior, all while maintaining a feel-good mood that suggests most things will work out in the end.”

Straub also owns Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, Michael Fusco-Straub (read a Spring 2018 profile in On Wisconsin). She studied creative writing while at the UW.

Published in the Winter 2020 issue

Tags: Alumni, books

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