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To me, ghost-writing seems like a dream job: telling the stories of interesting people -- without the risk of self-exposure.  But Allie Lang, the narrator in this thoughtful but entertaining fiction sets me straight.  She takes whatever offers she gets in order to pay the bills and support her young son. She typically writes for B-list celebrities, whose stories don’t make any headlines --   until she gets matched up with a rising star in the women’s movement, Lana Brabane. But Lana isn’t too forthcoming and Allie begins to supplement with anecdotes from her own life. That and a non-disclosure agreement that’s awfully hard to keep spell trouble.  What kept me reading nonstop was the commentary on contemporary issues, the behind-the-scenes life of a writer, the question of voice and identity to contemplate, and some wry humor to tie it all together. - Carrie

"By turns revealing, hilarious, dishy, and razor-sharp, Impersonation lives in that rarest of sweet spots: the propulsive page-turner for people with high literary standards." --Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers


Allie Lang is a professional ghostwriter and a perpetually broke single mother to a young boy. Years of navigating her own and America's cultural definitions of motherhood have left her a lapsed idealist. Lana Breban is a powerhouse lawyer, economist, and advocate for women's rights with designs on elected office. She also has a son. Lana and her staff have decided she needs help softening her public image and that a memoir about her life as a mother will help.


When Allie lands the job as Lana's ghostwriter, it seems as if things will finally go Allie's way. At last, she thinks, there will be enough money not just to pay her bills but to actually buy a house. After years of working as a ghostwriter for other celebrities, Allie believes she knows the drill: she has learned how to inhabit the lives of others and tell their stories better than they can.


But this time, everything becomes more complicated. Allie's childcare arrangements unravel; she falls behind on her rent; her subject, Lana, is better at critiquing than actually providing material; and Allie's boyfriend decides to go on a road trip toward self-discovery. But as a writer for hire, Allie has gotten too used to being accommodating. At what point will she speak up for all that she deserves?


A satirical, incisive snapshot of how so many of us now live, Impersonation tells a timely, insightful, and bitingly funny story of ambition, motherhood, and class.

Publication Date: 
August 18, 2020