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Drift: StoriesNewport Beach, Calif.: full of beautiful sandy beaches, warm weather and sun galore. It’s paradise, right? Wrong — that is, according to “Drift,” the debut novel by Victoria Patterson. The rich, Botox-infused residents hide dark secrets, dalliances and longings behind their shiny surfaces. As The San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Leone says, “Drift” is a “portrayal of the American Dream as hangover.” Characters float through 13 separate stories, but their lives are intertwined. The novel is focused through the eyes of a brooding teen Rosie, who can be traced back to each of the stories, as she comments on her town, her born-again Christian dad and her gold-digger mother. Affairs, therapy and sex abound, as well as an intriguing character named John Wayne, who is actually a drugged-up skateboarder. Patterson’s characters are deep, complicated people who contrast with the sunny exterior of their surroundings and expose its superficiality. The Second Pass, a blog devoted to books, comments: “[Patterson] also effectively shows the fate of women trapped, even in a post-feminist world, as symbols, continually refashioned by plastic surgeons to keep their aging bodies competitive with those of the daughters they and their friends have produced.”

View at Amazon: “Drift: Stories”.

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