Three Stages of Amazement

Three Stages of Amazement

A Novel

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A sweeping, richly compassionate novel about marriage, ambition, and the reclaiming of love--by the bestselling novelist and cofounder of Narrative magazine.

Many love stories end in marriage; rare is the love story that begins with one--already promised, already worn. Set in San Francisco during the first year of Obama's presidency, Three Stages of Amazement deftly charts the struggles and triumphs of Lena Rusch and her husband Charlie Pepper, still believe they can have it all--sex, love, marriage, children, career, brilliance. But life delivers surprises and tests--a stillborn child, an economic crash, a ruthless business rival and the attentions of an old lover. Touched by tragedy and by ordinary hopes unmet, Lena and Charlie must face, for the first time in their lives, real limitation.

Fifteen years after her stunning debut, Rise the Euphrates , Carol Edgarian has created a panoramic and deeply moving story about business and family and the demands of love in our time. She takes readers on a spellbinding journey inside America today, with an unforgettable cast of characters including Cal Rusch, Lena's uncle, a Silicon Valley titan, and Ivy, his socialite wife, who engender complication in the lives of all the people they touch: their grown children, business partners, friends, the servants and workers upon whom the glamorous life depends--and Lena, whose quest for grace is the pulse of this gorgeous novel.

As Lena and Charlie, Ivy and Cal, face the temptations of their youth and the fantasy of the redo, they discover that real life is the ultimate challenge. Told with eloquence and compassion, Three Stages of Amazement is a true thriller of the heart, a riveting story about confronting adversity, gaining wisdom, and finding great love.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2011
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781439198308
Characteristics: 296 p. ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jun 11, 2011

I wish I could turn off my lit crtic. Here's a Silicoon Valley tale of marraige strained by a husband's startup ambitions.

Lena has quit her fulfilling job to stay home with the ailing baby while he husband develops his medical invention.

Poor Lena: an old flame reignites marital dissatisfaction just as her hated uncle funds the noble project.

Where's the story arc? Lena is angry and selfish from start to finish. Older women and her loving men are consistently tolerant of Lena's tantrums.

Plenty of well-decorated Atherton homes and startup financing details. Perhaps a good pool-read. But I don't have a pool.

debwalker Mar 06, 2011

"An expansive novel (with a lamentably fussy title) about the intricate economies of the American marriage."
NYT Book Review
Gabrielle Zevin
March 4, 2011


Add a Summary

Marneya Apr 13, 2013

10 of 10 excellent


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MARINet

To Top