“A gorgeous, Technicolor take on America in the middle of the twentieth century.”—Colson Whitehead, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Nickel Boys
From the award-winning, bestselling author of Chang & Eng and Half a Life, a new novel about Lucille Ball, a thrilling love story starring Hollywood’s first true media mogul.
This indelible romance begins with a daring conceit—that the author’s grandfather may have had an affair with Lucille Ball. Strauss offers a fresh view of a celebrity America loved more than any other.
Lucille Ball—the most powerful woman in the history of Hollywood—was part of America’s first high-profile interracial marriage. She owned more movie sets than did any movie studio. She more or less single-handedly created the modern TV business. And yet Lucille’s off-camera life was in disarray. While acting out a happy marriage for millions, she suffered in private. Her partner couldn’t stay faithful. She struggled to balance her fame with the demands of being a mother, a creative genius, an entrepreneur, and, most of all, a symbol.
The Queen of Tuesday—Strauss’s follow-up to Half a Life, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award—mixes fact and fiction, memoir and novel, to imagine the provocative story of a woman we thought we knew.
About the Author
Darin Strauss is the author of the bestselling novels Chang and Eng, The Real McCoy, and More Than It Hurts You; the memoir Half a Life, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; and a bestselling comic-book series, Olivia Twist. These have been New York Times Notable Books and Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and NPR best books of the year, among other honors. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Library Association award, and numerous additional prizes, Strauss has been translated into fourteen languages and published in nineteen countries. He is the clinical professor of fiction in the graduate writing program at New York University.
“A home run!”—Gary Shteyngart, author of Lake Success
“Read it!”—Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad and Manhattan Beach
“Wonderful!”—Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less
“A great read.”—Jenny Offill, author of Weather “To read one of Strauss’s novels and then his memoir, Half a Life, is to think you’re in the hands of two different authors. In fact, you’re just in the hands of a gifted toggler—a skill he brings to bear here, combining both forms. Even if you didn’t grow up watching Lucille Ball stomping grapes or cramming her cheeks full of chocolate before The Brady Bunch came on, you will enjoy Strauss’s fictionalized life of the comedian who was calling her own shots at a time when women were expected to fade into the background.”—The New York Times
“The Queen of Tuesday is a striking exploration of how fame confounds the lives of prominent and obscure people. . . . Strauss conjures up those heady days of I Love Lucy with such vibrancy that it’s impossible not to hope that everything might work out after all. . . . This is well-trod celebrity gossip, though exceptionally well told. But what makes The Queen of Tuesday so peculiar and fascinating is the story that Strauss weaves through it about his grandfather, Izzy.”—The Washington Post
“[An] ingenious and bittersweet fourth novel . . . [Strauss] positions Ball not as a contemporary figure, exactly, but somebody a contemporary reader can relate to: heartsick, flawed, wounded by the public glare but determined to triumph over the haters. A second-wave feminist avant la lettre.”—Los Angeles Times
“Anything Darin Strauss writes is magic. I have been his fan since the beginning of time, and I will be his fan until the sun explodes.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic
“The Queen of Tuesday is a beautiful cinematic story about three people: the beloved actor Lucille Ball; a real estate builder, Isidore Strauss; and his grandson, the author, Darin Strauss. In a gorgeous imagined history of a not-long-ago world, the novelist Strauss allows us to remember our deeply held wishes to invent our lives and memories for our privately held loves. Like The Great Gatsby, Strauss’s novel reminds us that ghosts unseen who remain deeply felt renew our hearts’ most passionate yearnings and ambitions.”—Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko
“Darin Strauss has resurrected a lost world—the grand movie that never aired, the truncated epic of what might have been between Lucille Ball and his grandfather. Part elegy, part mystery, part speculative memoir, here is a love story unlike any you’ve read before—spiked with Hollywood scandal and the secrets families keep across generations. Strauss is a beautiful and funny and piercing writer, and this book is a gift.”—Karen Russell, author of Orange World and Other Stories