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A Likely Story by Leigh McMullan Abramson L’06

November 09, 2022

A Likely Story is the debut novel of Leigh McMullan Abramson L’06.
  • Title: A Likely Story
  • Author: Leigh McMullan Abramson L’06
  • Publisher: Atria / Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date: March 14, 2023

The only child of an iconic American novelist exhumes a tangle of family secrets and upends everything she thought she knew about her parents, her gilded youth, and her own stalled-out writing career.

For Isabelle Manning, growing up in a famous literary family was both a blessing and a curse. As New York’s intellectual “It” couple, her classically beautiful mother, Claire, had a reputation as a whip-smart society hostess, while Isabelle’s father — the incomparable Ward Manning — was the king of the New York Times bestseller list. Having to share Ward with his adoring public wasn’t always easy. But, at home, Claire made certain that Isabelle’s childhood was filled with magic and love.

Now an adult, all Isabelle has ever wanted is a career like her father’s. But, after many false starts — and wrecked by grief after Claire’s unexpected death — Isabelle faces down her 35th birthday alone, without a book deal, without her mom, and is very possibly on the brink of a messy breakdown.

When Isabelle discovers some shocking truths about her parents, she wonders if the world’s rosy, mythologized version of the Manning family is actually based on an elaborate and demoralizing lie.

Isabelle’s own unfolding drama is punctuated with fragments of a clever book-within-a-book, where a righteous female narrator steals back the spotlight from a man who has cheated his way to the top. The characters seem eerily familiar, but how many of the plot points from this other story are rooted in fact? And more important: who is the author?

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