Renowned feminist writer Alix Kates Shulman, author of the best-selling Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, marks her return to fiction after two decades with the novel Ménage, a caustic and contemporary comedy of manners that probes sexual politics through the lens of an unsatisfied married couple. The publication coincides with Shulman’s eightieth birthday as well as the release of her collected essays from Open Road. The New York Times has called Shulman: “The voice that has for three decades provided a lyrical narrative of the changing position of women in American society.”
Heather and Mack McKay seem to have it all: wealth, a dream house in the suburbs, and two adorable children along with the nannies to raise them. But their marriage has lost its savor: she is a frustrated writer and he longs for a cultural trophy to hang on his belt.
During a chance encounter in LA, Mack invites exiled writer Zoltan Barbu—once lionized as a political hero, now becoming a has-been—to live with him and his wife in their luxurious home. The plan should provide Heather with literary companionship, Mack with cultural cachet, and Zoltan himself with a pastoral environment in which to overcome his writer’s block and produce a masterpiece.
Of course, as happens with triangles, complications arise—some hilarious, some sad—as the three players pursue a game that leads to shifting alliances and sexual misadventures. Shulman pokes fun at our modern malaise (why is having it all never enough?), even as she traces the ever-changing dynamics within a marriage. Ménage is a bravura performance from one of America’s finest feminist writers.