Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jami Attenberg  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1971 in Arlington Heights, Illinois


-- Website -- http://jamiattenberg.com
-- Jami Attenberg on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=jami+attenberg


Illinois Connection

Jami lived in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Jami Attenberg is the author of Instant Love, The Kept Man, The Melting Season, and The Middlesteins. She has contributed to The New York Times, Salon, and numerous other publications. Jami has lived all over these United States from Portland, Oregon to Tampa, Florida, including Baltimore, MD., where she got a degree from Johns Hopkins University in Writing Seminars.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Instant Love: Fiction
ISBN: 0307337839

Broadway Books. 2007

“We are all walking around this city with our hearts sadly swimming in our chests, like dying fish on the surface of a still pond. It’s enough to make you give up entirely.” —from Instant Love


But we don’t give up. We keep trying. We’re either too stupid to learn from our mistakes or we honestly believe that the next time will be different

it’s hard to say which. Driven by the mad hopefulness that is part of the human condition, we are constantly falling in and out of love with a slightly different version of the person who came before. Jami Attenberg chronicles those exact moments with heartbreaking realism in her powerful debut, Instant Love.

Told through the eyes of three young women and their friends and lovers, Instant Love explores what it means to be in love, what it means to be lonely, and what it means to be both at the same time. Holly turns to computer dating to find love even as she thinks wistfully of a former boyfriend who loved her well and fed her ice cream. Maggie recounts the story of her one crazy summer to her disbelieving husband and feels the distance between them grow wider than the void across their king-sized bed. And Sarah Lee remembers the one who got away and the one she ran away from, all the while moving toward the one she can actually love.

As Holly, Maggie, and Sarah Lee move through the rituals of modern love, they have to decide who is worth taking a chance on in a world where things don’t fall into place easily, people are often difficult, and disappointment is the rule. Through their stories, Attenberg presents a rare, honest look at love.


Also available as an eBook.


From the Hardcover edition.

The Kept Man
ISBN: 1594483515

Riverhead Books. 2009

Now in paperback, from the author of the bestselling The Middlesteins: the novel that's "unabashedly emotional, refreshingly devoid of New York City cynicism, and tenderly funny?" (People).

Jarvis Miller's artist husband has been in a coma for six years. And so, Jarvis has spent these years suspended between hope and grief, paralyzed with longing for a life and a marriage that are slipping away. But then, unexpectedly, Jarvis makes her first new friends in years when she meets the Kept Man Club: three men whose lifestyles are funded by their successful wives, who gather once a week on laundry day. With their help, she reawakens to the city beyond her Brooklyn apartment, past the pitying eyes of her husband?s art dealer and his irresponsible best friend as her future begins to take on the irresistible tingles of possibility for the first time in almost a decade. When a shocking discovery casts a different light on her idealized marriage, she's propelled even further down a path that she would never have dared to imagine just months before. Tender, bold, and unabashed, The Kept Man is a compulsively readable novel about love and loss from one of our most dynamic new storytellers.

The Melting Season
ISBN: 1594488967

Riverhead Hardcover. 2010

A tender, provocative story about the power of friendship, the thrill of self-discovery, and the strength it takes to escape the past.

Catherine Madison is headed West with a suitcase full of cash that isn't hers. She's just left the only home she's ever known, a small town in Nebraska, after the only man she had ever known, her husband, Thomas, deserted her. She's also left behind her deepest, most shameful secrets-among them a dysfunctional family she's never quite been able to escape and a marriage whose most intimate moments have plagued her with self-doubt. On the road, she was going to become a new person. Or so she thought.

But running away from the past isn't as easy as she had hoped. When Catherine reaches Las Vegas, she forms surprising new friendships that compel her to reveal what she had sworn she'd keep hidden, and teach her what human connection really means. Armed with this new knowledge, she is finally emboldened to uncover the truth about her family, come to understand what destroyed her marriage, and prevent her troubled sister from repeating her mistakes.

Deeply compassionate and unflinchingly bold, The Melting Season is the story of an indelible character's journey from isolation to belonging, as well as an honest look at the things we feel we deserve from our lives- and how far we will go to find them.



The Middlesteins: A Novel
ISBN: 1455507210

Grand Central Publishing. 2012

For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie's enormous girth. She's obsessed with food--thinking about it, eating it--and if she doesn't stop, she won't have much longer to live.

When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. Robin, their schoolteacher daughter, is determined that her father pay for leaving Edie. Benny, an easy-going, pot-smoking family man, just wants to smooth things over. And Rachelle-- a whippet thin perfectionist-- is intent on saving her mother-in-law's life, but this task proves even bigger than planning her twin children's spectacular b'nai mitzvah party. Through it all, they wonder: do Edie's devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone, or are others at fault, too?

With pitch-perfect prose, huge compassion, and sly humor, Jami Attenberg has given us an epic story of marriage, family, and obsession. The Middlesteins explores the hopes and heartbreaks of new and old love, the yearnings of Midwestern America, and our devastating, fascinating preoccupation with food.


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