Rodham: A Novel (Hardcover)
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From the New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Eligible . . . He proposed. She said no. And it changed her life forever.
“Deviously clever . . . Sittenfeld’s Hillary is both a player in the Game of Thrones and a romance novel heroine. She’s a brilliant badass who has found her voice and knows how to use it. She’s whoever she wants to be.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced.
In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.
But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.
Brilliantly weaving a riveting fictional tale into actual historical events, Curtis Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute and witty story for our times. In exploring the loneliness, moral ambivalence, and iron determination that characterize the quest for political power, as well as both the exhilaration and painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world still run mostly by men, Rodham is a singular and unforgettable novel.
About the Author
Curtis Sittenfeld is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland, and Eligible, and the story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It, which have been translated into thirty languages. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post Magazine, Esquire, and The Best American Short Stories, of which she was the 2020 guest editor. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and Vanity Fair, and on public radio’s This American Life.
“Sittenfeld movingly captures Hillary’s awareness of her transformation into a complicated public figure. . . . Often funny, mostly sympathetic, and always sharp.”—Publishers Weekly
“Daring, seductive, and provocative . . . [an] exhilaratingly trenchant, funny, and affecting tale . . . Sittenfeld orchestrates a gloriously cathartic antidote to the actual struggles women presidential candidates face in a caustically divided America.”—Booklist
“It’s enjoyable to hear [this Hilary] think about her own desires, her strengths and weaknesses, her vulnerabilities and self-justifications; it’s also fun to see how familiar events would still occur under different circumstances.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Startlingly good . . . Sittenfeld is one of my favorite writers.”—Kate Atkinson, author of Big Sky
“Rodham is a provocative, bitingly funny re-imagining of what a woman’s life could be if she didn’t need to compromise her own ambitions in support of her partner’s. Sittenfeld has written a nuanced, astute portrait of one of modern history’s most contentious figures, and never shies away from either the thornier aspects of her character, or those of our society.”—Refinery29
“Rodham is the ultimate what-could-have-been story.”—HelloGiggles
Praise for Curtis Sittenfeld
“[Curtis] Sittenfeld is a clear thinker, a canny observer, and a solid, graceful stylist.”—The Washington Post Book World
“[Sittenfeld] is a skilled storyteller. [She] delivers a well-told, compelling story about characters so real they settle into your psyche like old friends.”—Associated Press
“[Sittenfeld] writes clear, funny, unadorned prose, and packs her pages with clever observations without appearing to be trying.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Sittenfeld makes writing lively and diverting fiction look easy.”—Chicago Tribune
“Whatever [Sittenfeld] writes, we’ll read it.”—People