NABOKV-L post 0021649, Sun, 22 May 2011 07:26:33 -0400

Leslie Daniel's novel,
"Cleaning Nabokov's House," is a quirky look ...

A humorous look at life following a shock divorce

By Sharon Galligar Chance Special to Scripps Newspapers
Posted May 21, 2011 at 4:52 p.m.

Contributed by Simon and Schuster CLEANING NABOKOV'S HOUSE by Leslie Daniels (Simon and Schuster, $24)
Barb Barrett is approaching 40 when her relatively safe, secure life is turned upside down. Her husband is divorcing her and he is taking their two children. And to add insult to injury, he takes up with the court-appointed social worker who is supposed to be monitoring the custody agreement between Barb and the "experson," as she calls him.

Leslie Daniel's humorous novel, "Cleaning Nabokov's House," is a quirky look at how one woman handles the curve balls life has thrown her way in her own unique and sometimes quite silly manner.

After living in her car for some time, Barb moves into a home once owned by Vladimir Nabokov, the famous author of "Lolita," and while cleaning out a drawer she finds an unusual manuscript, a baseball story featuring Babe Ruth, that she believes is a lost work of his. If she could get it published or at least find out who wrote it (as the "experts" don't think it's really Nabokov's work), a lot of her problems could be solved. So she enlists the help of her mailman's wife Margie, who happens to be a local book agent, and who agrees to help her out.

But while waiting for the decision on the manuscript, a process that could take months to complete, Barb must come up with a way to prove to the courts that she is a responsible mother who can take care of her children, and hopefully regain at least partial custody of them. So she comes up with an ingenious idea that just might work in her small town, if it doesn't backfire and end up with her in jail.

Written in a light, breezy manner, Daniels pulls her readers into the improbable situations her main character finds herself in, and by the end of the book, shows that a little pluck and a little luck can at least improve a desperate situation, if not remedy it totally.

© 2011 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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