3.18 (812 ratings by Goodreads)
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""It was probably because I was so often taken away from Cambridge when I was young that I loved it as much as I did . . ."
So begins this novel-from-life by the best-selling author of "Girl, Interrupted, " an exploration of memory and nostalgia set in the 1950s among the academics and artists of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
London, Florence, Athens: Susanna, the precocious narrator of "Cambridge, " would rather be home than in any of these places. Uprooted from the streets around Harvard Square, she feels lost and excluded in all the locations to which her father's career takes the family. She comes home with relief--but soon enough wonders if outsiderness may be her permanent condition.
Written with a sharp eye for the pretensions--and charms--of the intellectual classes, "Cambridge" captures the mores of an era now past, the ordinary lives of extraordinary people in a singular part of America, and the delights, fears, and longings of childhood.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 257 pages
  • 147.32 x 213.36 x 30.48mm | 430.91g
  • Alfred A. Knopf
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0385350252
  • 9780385350259
  • 2,148,793

Review quote

"This latest novel from Kaysen follows a character named Susanna from the second to the sixth grade, taking her through four countries, a Swedish nanny, and a Brahman piano teacher who never makes her play. Susanna is a curious girl whose travels often leave her awestruck. She leads an unconventional life and is not happy about it. Awkward and lonely, she has only one friend her age . . . What she does love is the English language, and Susanna's facility with language allows Kaysen to create tension and humor." --Pamela Mann, "Library Journal"

"Touching . . . Loosely based on the author's own childhood, this travelogue is narrated by a nine-year-old who must spend two years living in England, Italy, and Greece despite her fervent wish to be home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I really enjoyed the book, which reads a bit like a journal. I loved the narrator's bittersweet realization that 'home' isn't a physical locale, but rather a place that exists only in memories." --Sarai Narvaez, "Real Simple"

"This raw, biting autobiographical novel from the author of "Girl, Interrupted "frequently lights up to the point of incandescence with subtle descriptions and astute, witty anecdotes [as] Susanna, a young girl with complicated parental relations, recalls her formative years, traveling from English shores to Grecian temples. A literary tour-de-force displaying Kaysen's unique talent for creating an engaging ensemble cast that comes uniquely alive under adolescent eyes . . . Affectingly real." --"Publishers Weekly"
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About Susanna Kaysen

Susanna Kaysen has written the novels "Asa, As I Knew Him" and "Far Afield" and the memoirs "Girl, Interrupted" and "The Camera My Mother Gave Me." She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Rating details

812 ratings
3.18 out of 5 stars
5 10% (81)
4 27% (217)
3 41% (331)
2 17% (136)
1 6% (47)
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