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Deception is just another day in the lives of the elite.


At age thirty-three, Penelope "Pepper" Bradford has no career, no passion and no children, and her intrusive parents still treat her like a child. Moving into the Chelmsford Arms with her fiancé Rick, an up-and-coming financier, and joining the co-op board give her some control over her life—until her parents take a gut dislike to Rick and urge Pepper to call off the wedding. When, the week before the wedding, she glimpses a trail of desperate text messages from Rick's obsessed female client, Pepper realizes that her parents might be right.


She looks to her older neighbors in the building to help decide whether to stay with Rick, not realizing that their marriages are in crisis, too. Birdie and George's bond frays after George is forced into retirement at sixty-two. And Francis alienates Carol, his wife of fifty years, and everyone else he knows, after being diagnosed with an inoperable heart condition. To her surprise, Pepper's best model for love may be a clandestine gay romance between Caleb and Sergei, a black porter and a Russian doorman.


Carnegie Hill is a belated coming-of-age novel about sustaining a marriage—and knowing when to walk away. It chronicles the lives of wealthy New Yorkers and the staff who serve them, as they suffer together and rebound, struggle to free themselves from family entanglements, deceive each other out of love and weakness, and fumble their way to honesty.



Praise for CARNEGIE HILL: 


"In this effervescent debut about an elite Manhattan co-op, a young heiress named Pepper is determined to achieve wedded bliss with her fiancé.... Entertaining and profound." —People magazine


"Vatner ... uses the Chelmsford Arms Co-op as one part physical construct, one part metaphor to enter the lives of four couples—two older couples, and two younger ones—and in doing so, artfully examines some of the racial and gender stereotypes that transcend generational boundaries." —Los Angeles Review of Books


"Absolutely charming and heartfelt." —New York Post's Fall Books Everyone Is Talking About


"This novel about the clandestine lives of New York's upper crust makes for a perfect beach read." —Town & Country's Must-Read Books of Summer 2019


"The novel is a witty, compassionate, deeply felt (and wise) story about a diverse cast of characters.... Resoundingly so, Carnegie Hill is the kind of book you never want to end." —WhereTraveler New York


"It's his consistently wry wit and obvious affection for his deluded, struggling characters that are this novel's propelling forces, and which will win readers over with delight." —Booklist (starred review)


A "marvelous debut novel." —Shelf Awareness


"An excellent read." —Library Journal (Also a Best Debut Novel of Summer/Fall 2019)


"[Vatner] populates the Chelmsford Arms with a delightful cast of characters, but best of all is Pepper herself, a charming, contemporary update of an Edith Wharton Character. The debut will entertain and satisfy readers." —Publishers Weekly


"The secret lives of the board members and service staff of a stuffy old apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan are full of drama.... Vatner's debut novel is absorbing and comforting in its omniscient perspective and delicate handling of its carousel of characters." —Kirkus Reviews


"A shrewd confection of a novel, fun to read and warm at heart—full of neighborly sideswiping, unfeedable appetites, and an overview that sees the pride and fragility of it all. The vibrant cast makes this a page-turner—you won't envy these people for a second but you'll have a great time watching them undo and fix themselves." —Joan Silber, 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award winner and the PEN/Faulkner Award winner for IMPROVEMENT


"Carnegie Hill is that rare thing: A deft, delightful comedy of manners that also gets at dark, complicated truths about race, class, gender, and age. I loved it." –Joanna Rakoff, international bestselling author of MY SALINGER YEAR


"The Chelmsford Arms, the apartment building at the center of Jonathan Vatner's debut novel, is a bubble within a bubble, a Galapagos of the rich, full of beautifully bizarre mutations that exist nowhere else. A shrewd comic tale of old lovers, young lovers, and the blanket of privilege that both warms and binds them all. This is a marvelous book." –Jonathan Dee, Pulitzer Prize finalist for THE PRIVILEGES


"A richly imagined story, teeming with life, and a subtle exploration of the ways in which we grow or fail to grow. Jonathan Vatner has given us a wise and funny novel with a compassionate heart." –Brian Morton, author of New York Times Notable Book STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING


"In Carnegie Hill, Jonathan Vatner's array of terrifically drawn residents of a New York City co-op tackles race, homophobia, income disparity, and romance old and new. Readers of Cynthia Ozick and Amor Towles will love this witty and heartrending chronicle of modern manners. Through Vatner's sharp evocation of present-day Manhattan, we pity the rich, admire the struggling, and root for them all." –Bethany Ball, New York Times Editor's Choice author of WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE SOLOMONS


"Wit and high hilarity propel us through the pages of this tale of irrepressible lovers who are never on secure ground for long. But there's wisdom at the heart of this wonderfully buoyant novel."


"Carnegie Hill is pure reading pleasure. Like a warm-hearted Tom Wolfe, Vatner portrays the foibles of the upper crust with affection and panache—and gets all the details outrageously right. He imbues the elite residents of the Chelmsford Arms with the breath of life, and by the end we know them as family. He's a wise, wry writer, and this is an uplifting, irresistible debut."

–Lauren Acampora, author of THE PAPER WASP


"Carnegie Hill has got to be one of the most charming, hilarious, and insightful books I've read in ages. When it comes to New York's (often befuddled) elite, Vatner has an eagle eye for detail, and an ear for whip-smart dialogue. This is an assured, heartfelt debut."

–Grant Ginder, author of THE PEOPLE WE HATE AT THE WEDDING