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No Ordinary Matter

No Ordinary Matter

A Novel

Jenny McPhee's critically acclaimed debut, The Center of Things, was hailed by O, The Oprah Magazine as "a smart novel of love, lust, and life's miraculous randomness." The New York Times Book Review called it "an engaging novel about big ideas." In her delightful new novel, No Ordinary Matter, McPhee turns her razor-sharp pen on the offbeat worlds of soap operas, mistaken identities, private detectives, and sibling rivalries as she deftly navigates the territory between coincidence and fate.

Veronica Moore writes for a daytime drama while secretly composing a musical and has fallen in love with Alex Drake, who plays a neurologist on her show. Lillian Moore is a neurologist who is pregnant from a one-night stand. Veronica and Lillian have hired Brian Byrd, P. I., to uncover the mystery surrounding their father's death. Before they know it, unexpected answers come crawling out of the woodwork. The sisters meet monthly at the Hungarian Pastry Shop, where they entangle their futures and unravel their pasts, setting the stage for a series of revelations that will change the course of everyone's lives. This fast-paced narrative is full of situations worthy of the steamiest of soaps, and yet McPhee renders this fantastical world delightfully ordinary.

No Ordinary Matter is as addictive as a soap opera, as high-kicking as a Broadway show, as insightful as an MRI, and as satisfying as a buttery croissant. With its sly charm and witty sophistication, McPhee's new novel is another sparkling gem from a rising literary star.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439104590 | 
  • June 2008
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Veronica sat in the back of the Hungarian Pastry Shop waiting for her older sister, Lillian. She surveyed the compact room, while contemplating a dash outside for a smoke. The café's clientele were mostly regulars who came laden with dog-eared, beverage-stained reading materials and stayed for hours sharing a table with fellow bohemian throwbacks while consuming innumerable cups of coffee. A laptop was as rare a sight in the Hungarian Pastry Shop as was a pencil in Silicon Valley. In keeping with the times, however, the patrons had been forced to give up smoking, at least while inside the café. When Veronica was a... see more

About the Author

Jenny McPhee
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Jenny McPhee

Jenny McPhee is the author of The Center of Things, a novel, and the coauthor of Girls: Ordinary Girls and Their Extraordinary Pursuits. She is the translator of Paolo Maurensig's Canone Inverso and of Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Glimmer Train, Zoetrope, and Brooklyn Review, and her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and Bookforum, among others. She is on the board of the Bronx Academy of Letters.

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