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Ensemble Novels March 14, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in bestsellers, commercial fiction, fiction, thrillers, weekly topics, women's fiction.
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Meg Waite Clayton

Can a novel have more than one protagonist without losing focus and continuity? This week in #litchat we’re discussing novels that feature an ensemble cast, where more than one protagonist shares the stage for the revelation of story.

Guest host on Friday, March 18, is Meg Waite Clayton, whose debut novel, The Language of Light, was a finalist for the Bellwether Prize. Her most recent novel, The Four Ms. Bradwells, features an ensemble cast of four strong women who bond during law school in 1979 and remain allies throughout life’s trials and triumphs.

Nicknamed “the Ms. Bradwells” during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979—when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court—the four reunite for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court. But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends’ collective closet, the Ms. Bradwells retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past—one that stirs up secrets they’ve kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever.

In addition to the acclaimed, The Language of Light, Clayton’s 2008 ensemble novel, The Wednesday Sisters, was a national bestseller. Clayton hosts the blog, 1st Books: Stories of How Writers Get Started, which features award-winning and bestselling authors sharing stories about their paths to writing and publishing. Her short stories and essays have been read on public radio and have appeared in commercial and literary magazines. She’s a graduate of the University of Michigan and Michigan Law School, and lives with her family in Palo Alto, Calif.

Follow Meg Waite Clayton on Twitter: @MegWClayton

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Comments»

1. Amy Rasmussen - March 16, 2011

Would love a list of great ensemble novels. I can think of two:: Let the Great World Spin By Colum McCann & Little Bee by Chris Cleeve.


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