Three Stages of Amazement

Carol Edgarian's astonishing and eagerly awaited second novel is a grand love story and a dazzling social chronicle of turbulent America today.

Charlie Pepper and Lena Rusch live in San Francisco in a modest pink bungalow they cannot afford.  On the hill above them sit the great houses of the rich, with their servants and gardens and glorious views of the bay. Charlie and Lena grew up believing they could have it all — sex, love, marriage, children, career, brilliance. Now, in early middle age, life has delivered surprises and tests—a stillborn twin, an economic crash, a ruthless rival in Charlie’s business, and a seductive lover from Lena’s past.

Touched by tragedy, imbued with hope, Lena and Charlie must face, for the first time, real limitations. Charlie works constantly, pursuing a revolutionary advance in medicine; Lena totters, missing work deadlines while taking care of the kids – Willa, the delicate surviving twin, and Theo, a precocious four year old who understands more of adult life than he should.

Looming over Lena and Charlie in one of the grandest houses on the hill live Lena’s estranged relatives, Cal and Ivy Rusch. Cal, a formidable Silicon Valley titan, complicates and manipulates the lives of everyone around him; Ivy, every bit his match, gives their ruthless wealth its enviable patina and charm.  But when unexpected adversity descends upon Cal and Ivy’s privileged lives, Lena must navigate her family’s secrets and betrayals. Her quest for grace is the pulse of this superb novel.

Bracingly intelligent, profoundly humane, written in gorgeous prose, Three Stages of Amazement is a spellbinding journey across a landscape of national unease – our own – when the fragility of one marriage reflects the tenuous state of the American Dream.  Hailed as a “prodigious talent,” Edgarian delivers a stunning thriller of the heart— about confronting adversity, gaining wisdom, and finding great love.