Lepucki creates characters that that you can both relate to and are dumbfounded by. Woman No. 17 threads the story of Lady and her nanny S. with layers of mystery, suspense, and the exhaustion that creating art can cause. I loved this book and feel Lepucki has leveled up her storytelling prowess with gusto.— Rachel Watkins
The clever and well paced Woman No. 17 is alternately narrated by two women: Lady, a mother, and S, the nanny she hires. Both have serious mommy issues and this novel offers many great insights into the complexities of the mother-child relationship.
Some conceptual and performance art pieces by major and minor characters amplify themes and add depth and humor. There are a lot of layers here (if you want them) but the story remains nimble.
As things begin to get complicated, the tempo becomes increasingly frantic. To reflect this, Lady and S take turns narrating with greater rapidity-seemingly grabbing the driver’s wheel from each other. Lepucki uses this device confidently and to great advantage.
I found it difficult to put this book down.
Lady is full of quips and her tweets, some actual and some just in her head, are a perfect vehicle for Lepucki to showcase witty comparisons and observations. Unfortunately, too many random and extraneous comments (especially about things like erections and vaginal odor), though sometimes funny, hurt this book and bring it down. They date it and detract from its timeless themes and near elegance. Several times, I found myself wishing Lepucki’s editor had used a firmer hand.
“Woman No. 17 is propulsive and moving, and considers vital questions with empathy and sly intelligence…[A] winning novel.”
— New York Times Book Review
"A story packed with such wicked and wickedly funny confessions about a host of hallowed subjects...Woman No. 17 tastes like a juice box of suburban satire laced with Alfred Hitchcock. Lepucki’s witty lines arrive as dependably as afternoon playtime, but her reflection on motherhood and women’s friendships is deadly serious...The disclosures that Lepucki engineers in this smart novel are sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious, always irresistible."
— Ron Charles, Washington Post
“Lepucki’s exploration of personal relationships takes on an increasingly noirish tone: Much like Chekhov’s gun, a swimming pool introduced early in the book takes on the shadows of a floating body long before the reader realizes this might be a possibility.”
"Edan Lepucki's Woman No. 17 is part family melodrama, part twisty self-reflection... very funny."
"While Woman No. 17 does possess all the trappings of a frothy page-turner — stormy arguments, showy melodrama, and (oops!) an affair, there are some quiet, serious moments, too. It’s the intersection between the two that makes this read both scintillating and thought-provoking.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
"A sexy family drama featuring dual protagonists as well as sex, art, mothers and mutism."
— Los Angeles Daily News
"Following the success of her debut novel, California, author Edan Lepucki returns with a dark and clever tale about motherhood and the complexity of friendships."
“Woman No. 17 reads like a Hollywood Hills film noir... the dialogue is sharp, the fragrance of the wilting air palpable."
— Seattle Times
"With Woman No. 17, Lepucki has succeeded in revealing a simple truth: mothers are human—flawed and difficult and impossible to hold at arm’s length."
"Female friendships, artists, twisted secrets, motherhood, and the posh and drama-filled hills of Los Angeles — if that doesn't sound like a novel your mom will literally gobble up in a day or two, we give up. This risqué and mesmerizing read by New York Times bestselling author Edan Lepucki will make your mom race through the addictive pages of Woman No. 17 in no time (and we wouldn't be surprised if she rereads it again and again)."
"Tensions are expertly spun by Edan Lepucki through the heat of the end of summer in LA... Woman No. 17 starts and finishes in the here and now, and shows up the fragility of the facade of civilization that we all in the Western world, be it in American or Europe, like to think we hold up."
— Electric Literature
"Woman No. 17 offers not only a propulsive plot but also important reflections on artistic creation, the lingering effects of bad mothers on their adult children, and the thorny question of how friends and family relate to their loved ones with disabilities."
"Both fun to read and asks serious questions about identity, art and motherhood."
"Edan Lepucki’s second novel an exceptional offering... a sleek, perspective-shifting tale driven by the complexities of relationship dynamics, the notion of identity and the importance/absurdity of modern art and its impact... a taut tightrope walk of a novel."
— Maine Edge
“[A] Hollywood noir about the electric bonds between women… this one is a safe bet for beach season.”
– The Week
“Woman No. 17 is a novel about motherhood, an impossible game to win…The parallel stories of Lady and S speeding toward disaster keep the pages turning, but the primary pleasure of Woman No. 17 comes from Lepucki’s wit... This novel, coming on the heels of the dystopian California, suggests that Lepucki is an author with a diverse palate and talent to burn.”
“Lepucki’s brisk style and arresting characterizations make for a compelling portrait of womanhood in the present moment, right down to its intriguing integration of social media.”
“An acidly inquisitive domestic drama set in the Hollywood Hills and anchored to depthless questions of identity, family, and art... Lepucki’s arch and provocative tale of elaborate and privileged dysfunction poses sharp questions about inheritance, self-expression, and love.”
“Always enjoyable…this novel succeeds by staying light on its feet.”
“In Woman No. 17, Lepucki has crafted an intricate, gripping story of people behaving very badly. You will want to race to the end to see what happens, but don’t cheat yourself. This book deserves to be savored –gorgeously written, darkly comic, smart and thrilling.”
– CYNTHIA D’APRIX SWEENEY, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest"Woman No. 17 fizzes with references to contemporary culture and sparks with larger, timeless questions: Where is the line between performance and identity? What separates life from art? And can we ever escape the gravitational pull of our parents? Edan Lepucki shows herself to be a sharp-eyed chronicler of our modern world."