It’s always exciting when you come across your own home turf in a book. Yeah, yeah, literature is supposed to be about broadening your horizons and bringing you out of yourself and introducing you to new worlds, but that happens all the time. Seeing someplace you know well through someone else’s eyes—now, that’s something rare and worth getting excited about.
Jami Attenberg‘s latest novel, The Middlesteins, just out in paperback, happens to be set in an unnamed northwest suburb that is clearly, at least to those of us who grew up there, Buffalo Grove. There’s one geographical clue: the family matriarch, Edie Middlestein, works as a lawyer “for corporations developing shopping plazas all along Dundee Road, from I-94 to Route 53.” The rest, well, it’s there. Except for the one thing I most wish existed. But I’ll get to that in a second.