Reviews For Model Home
"The only conclusion to come to after reading this novel is that Eric Puchner is a massive talent who has already hit his stride. . . funny and sad, each character is perfectly drawn and deeply interesting. Go read this book."
"Puchner's prose is forthright, delightfully detailed and the distance he strikes from his characters seems just right: not so close that we can't see them in social context, not so far that we don't feel for them deeply in their distress . . . I'm still trying to recover from reading about the Zillers."
–Alan Cheuse, NPR's All Things Considered
"Puchner is a tender, humane observer of family life, and his lithe prose deepens our understanding of his characters . . . the writing is attuned and specific . . . the image of the Zillers as the sole survivors of a disaster is affecting, and subtly suggests our contemporary situation."
–Marisa Silver, The New York Times Book Review
"What’s most impressive is Puchner’s ability to keep his characters so relatable, even when juggling them from an omniscient point of view. We feel equally connected to an OCD 11-year-old who refuses to wear any color besides orange and a middle-aged husband who, in his efforts to save face, pretends his car was stolen, not repossessed. Puchner even gets the women right, hormonal teen and burned-out mom alike—so much so that we’d gladly be the fourth child in the Zillers’ dark, funny, completely human story."
"Eric Puchner's first novel, Model Home, is one of the funniest and truest books published in years . . .Puchner expertly captures each family member's point of view . . . Model Home is a sort of love story about a family . . . But in spite of - or because of - its transitory nature, this love story is even more precious."
"The Ziller family is utterly believable here…There's a terrible shame involved if you fail in America. But that shame is universal. It clings to us like an invisible, sticky veil. That's what this estimable book is about."
–Carolyn See, The Washington Post
"Puchner is an extraordinarily talented writer. He’s a master of mood and tone, able to make moments of pure hilarity follow heartbreak with the seamlessness of real life . . .every character is perfectly realized . . . the perfect novel for our time."
–The Boston Globe
"Very, very powerful."
–NPR's "Here and Now"
"Our truest intimacies may not preclude pretenses. We fear this, and Eric Puchner perfectly conveys this fear. A novel that touches on goth-tinged, high-school poetry, real-estate ventures gone sour, and manic preteen genius, his Model Home is a saga of deceptions in the closest of quarters. Although the characters are constantly on the verge of collapse, the writing itself never falters—it feels impossibly real.
--Paris Review online ("What We're Loving")
"A nuanced and compelling portrait of a family in peril."
–Wall Street Journal
"To read Eric Puchner's debut novel, Model Home, is to watch in fascinated dismay the unraveling of a family . . . Puchner has brought to bear his primary gifts as a storyteller: startling language and the accretion of memorable scenes . . . he deploys in exactly the right measure the element of dreams: those he visits upon his characters and the one he implodes before the reader's gaze."
–San Francisco Chronicle
"A clever send-up of the Reagan-era's Morning in America mentality...wrenching...Puchner's well-constructed tale of a house of pain built on a foundation of secrets echoes Updike and Easton Ellis."
–People (four stars)
"This fine domestic drama...runs the gamut from hilarious to harrowing. A wild first novel that amply confirms the promise of Puchner's story collection, Music Through the Floor."
–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[A] heartrending first novel…With careful attention to nuanced and fractured perspectives, Puchner teases a fragile beauty out of the loneliness that separates the members of this family."
–Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"The whole idea of family comes unraveled in Puchner's gloved and graceful style."
–Los Angeles Times
"Compelling . . . In the grandest terms, it's a book about the failure of the American Dream, not unlike its theatrical cousin 'Death of a Salesman.' It's the California setting and the current economic crisis that make this well-crafted book all the more resonant."
–KPBS's Culture Lust
"Model Home is Eric Puchner's first novel, and it shows loads of talent…The family might be a slightly older version of the Gladneys in Don DeLillo's White Noise, which combines comedy and catastrophe in a similar fashion."
–The Mark (Toronto)
"A classic tragicomedy...Puchner choreographs scenes of blazing hilarity and infernal despair, creating an exceptionally well-plotted, caustically funny, and bracingly compassionate novel of family lunacy and love."
–Booklist (starred review)
"All the Zillers come so alive that as a reader, I felt so deeply for them that the book became almost excruciating to read . . . thanks to the fine talent of Eric Puchner I will remember [the Zillers] for quite a long while."
"A nuanced exploration of many engrossing contemporary themes…[The Zillers'] vulnerabilities are exquisitely, comically, and painfully laid bare…Much of this has to do with Puchner's technical gifts: he's greatly skilled at immersing us in the mental and physical states of his characters…and he can find the poetic in the mundane."
–KQED's The California Report
"Puchner gets the relationships among the family members just right…he's done a terrific job capturing what makes California singular… Although the novel is set in the 1980s, the theme of the crumbling American Dream feels current…a compelling portrait of an oddly quintessential American family."
–The Dallas Morning News
"Like his acclaimed short-story collection, Music Through the Floor, former San Franciscan Eric Puchner’s powerful first novel is much more than the sum of its deceptively simple parts . . . Grade A."
–San Francisco Magazine
"Gut-wrenching...Puchner knows how to bring home the ache, to let us feel with the characters that connection is only just barely out of reach."
"This novel, set with perfect pitch in the 1980s, nevertheless feels as immediate as Facebook postings…Puchner is a master of the telling detail and the delayed revelation."
"It usually takes me twenty pages or so to warm up to a book, but Puchner had me at Hello! with Model Home…Puchner portrays a real family on a crash course with disaster, but he tempers the tragedy with enough humor that it never gets maudlin. His characters are real, the dialogue sharp, and the details spot on."
–Sacramento Book Review
"Readers will feel the angst of teenage love, the frustration of plans gone wrong, and the heartbreak of the human condition. For anyone who likes fine writing on contemporary domestic crises."
"You know those novels about families where everything–I mean, everything–goes wrong, yet you can’t stop reading? And laughing out loud amid the heartbreak? That’s the kind of book Eric Puchner has created with his debut novel, Model Home."
–Books & Authors
"The subject of this marvelous novel is nothing less than the soul of the American family, in which love sometimes hides inside estrangement and survival can be a choice made under duress. All of it is played out in the California desert, land of false dreams, and yet the result is anything but arid: a searing, bitterly funny, achingly humane book by one of our most talented young writers."
–Ann Packer, author of Songs Without Words and The Dive from Clausen's Pier
“Model Home is a fantastic follow up to Eric Puchner's remarkable story collection, Music Through The Floor. Puchner is such a tremendously skilled writer you barely notice how deftly he slips between points of view, how he creates characters that are so real their yearnings and failures become your own. This is a heartbreaking yet consistently funny novel that wraps its arms around all the beauty and tragedy of the unfulfilled American dream.”
–Stephen Elliott, author of Happy Baby and The Adderall Diaries
"Eric Puchner's Model Home is 1980s California in a nutshell: bright and frantic, giddy and broke, desperate and strong and always, always moving."
–Daniel Handler, author of Adverbs
"Reader, rejoice! Eric Puchner has given us a brilliant, unpretentious family saga of uncommon mastery and soul. Model Home is filled to bursting with wonderfully rendered love and heartbreak, hope and despair, triumph and travesty. Read this awesome novel. Read it now."
–Elisa Albert, author of The Book of Dahlia and After Birth