Pineapple Street

Initially, Pineapple Street seems to be a comic novel of First World problems: a married woman grouses about her life after giving up her job at Goldman Sachs to stay home with the kids, and another woman resents that the four-bedroom Brooklyn limestone she and her husband took over from his WASP parents is overflowing with in-law detritus. But before too long, Jenny Jackson's first novel reveals itself to be a canny inquiry into what happens when old money collides with new ideas about inclusiveness and fairness. Pineapple Street's perspective roves among three linked women. There's Darley, the ex-Goldman Sachs at-home mom whose Korean American airline banker husband is unjustifiably fired, his lack of old-boys'-club connections his undoing. There's Darley's younger sister, Georgiana, who attempts to demonstrate her independence from her real estate-rich family by working at a not-for-profit. (Meanwhile, the interest from her trust pays her mortgage.) And there's limestone-dweller Sasha, a graphic designer from relatively humble origins who is viewed with suspicion by Darley and Georgiana, her sisters-in-law, because she refused to sign a prenup--or did she?--when she married their brother.

Pineapple Street succeeds as both a languidly paced comedy of manners (the increasingly philanthropic Georgiana's father says she's behaving "like some kind of millennial communist saint") and a filigreed look at the responsibilities that go with inherited wealth. While she's at it, Jackson teases a question: When it comes to welcoming others into the fold, what's reasonable to expect of the old-moneyed? Moreover: What's realistic? --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

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