Sandwich: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

One family, one week – that’s the setup for Catherine Newman’s big-hearted brainy beach read. For those of us in the Midwest, I probably need to note that Sandwich is a town on Cape Cod. And Rocky, the heroine, is classic sandwich generation, dealing with her newly adult children, her newly fragile parents, a newly uncontrollably menopausal body, and a whole mess of secrets. Sometimes I find first person narratives claustrophobic, but Rocky’s voice is captivating, alternatingly funny, sad, angry, frustrated, and ten other adjectives you can discover yourself when you read Sandwich

— Daniel Goldin

Angry, heartbroken, joyous, scarred, melancholic, rueful, bursting with rage and so, so, so full of love. If any narrator has ever reached down their own throat and pulled themselves inside out onto the page, then surely Catherine Newman’s Rocky. On a week’s vacation to their favorite cramped and humble Cape Cod rental cottage, Rocky and her family clog toilets and spill secrets. Salt water clarifies, and Newman captures exactly how a simple, good, old-fashioned beach trip can recalibrate the rest of your life. Sharply written, with a piercing, observant eye, this is a beautiful book.

— Chris Lee

July 2024 Indie Next List

“Catherine Newman has perfected the art of making you laugh out loud, then cry just sentences apart. This funny, tender story follows one family’s weeklong vacation in Cape Cod. Newman has crafted a story rich with what it is to be human.”
— Beth Bissmeyer, Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, KY



“Sandwich is joy in book form. I laughed continuously, except for the parts that made me cry. Catherine Newman does a miraculous job reminding us of all the wonder there is to be found in life."—Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of Tom Lake

“If you like my novels, you will love love love this . . . . I stand in awe, it’s just perfect.”—Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Swan Song

From the beloved author of We All Want Impossible Things, a moving, hilarious story of a family summer vacation full of secrets, lunch, and learning to let go.

For the past two decades, Rocky has looked forward to her family’s yearly escape to Cape Cod. Their humble beach-town rental has been the site of sweet memories, sunny days, great meals, and messes of all kinds: emotional, marital, and—thanks to the cottage’s ancient plumbing—septic too.

This year’s vacation, with Rocky sandwiched between her half-grown kids and fully aging parents, promises to be just as delightful as summers past—except, perhaps, for Rocky’s hormonal bouts of rage and melancholy. (Hello, menopause!) Her body is changing—her life is, too. And then a chain of events sends Rocky into the past, reliving both the tenderness and sorrow of a handful of long-ago summers.

It's one precious week: everything is in balance; everything is in flux. And when Rocky comes face to face with her family’s history and future, she is forced to accept that she can no longer hide her secrets from the people she loves.

About the Author

Catherine Newman has written numerous columns, articles, and canned-bean recipes for magazines and newspapers, and her essays have been widely anthologized. She is the author of the novel We All Want Impossible Things; the memoirs Waiting for Birdy and Catastrophic Happiness; the middle-grade novel One Mixed-Up Night; and the bestselling kids’ life-skills books How to Be a Person and What Can I Say? She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Praise For…

"Occasionally a writer comes along who seems able to turn every domestic triumph and tear, every dinner concocted, co-sleep endured and I.P.A. swallowed (or not)—in other words, the ordinary stuff of first-world life—into material rife with wit, humor and soul-bearing openness. Catherine Newman. . .is that sort of writer. . . .Impassioned, crackling, vividly detailed writing and utter hilarity. . . .If you want to laugh out loud, tear up and rush to pull out a book in the 35 seconds between subway stops, this sweet, savory, tenderhearted Sandwich fits the bill, and goes down like (bread and) buttah." — New York Times Book Review

“[Sandwich] practically glows with family feeling . . . . [it] has much in common with Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake, though Patchett’s novel doesn’t have an older generation, a key element here . . . . The laughter begins on the first page . . . and the great lines and witty observations never stop.” — Washington Post

Sandwich is my idea of the perfect summer novel: shimmering and substantive. One more aspect of Newman’s book deserves highlighting: like many other recent novels by best-selling female authors—I’m thinking of Jennifer Weiner, Ann Patchett, and Megan Abbott—Newman introduces a storyline here about abortion. She writes about that contested subject—and the emotions it engenders—in a way that I’ve never encountered in fiction before.” — Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s “Fresh Air"

“Finally, literary fiction has started to fully appreciate the joy of an older female narrator . . . . Rocky is a worthy member of this new and much-needed club, not just for her date of birth but also for her relatability . . . . a protagonist like Rocky is so necessary, because a whole generation will now be able to read this wise and exquisitely written story and say I know how you feel. They will say, Same." — The Guardian

“What I love about this book is we see from the perspective of the mother how incredibly excited she is to bring her family all together again, which is something I can relate to . . . . she is in that sandwich generation, in that middle place in life. Newman did an exquisite job of showing that middle place with a lot of humor and sensitivity and kindness. It’s a book I couldn’t stop thinking about when I finished.” — Liz Egan, New York Times Book Review podcast

“Newman is warm, generous, always funny—but always with the intent to make you laugh at yourself as much as the characters. A beach novel to pass onto your best friends.” — Oprah Daily

"Secrets are confessed and ties between parents and their adult children are tested on a week's vacation in Cape Cod. Newman's light touch keeps this family drama from slipping into melodrama. Feels like eating pastries (from the "good" bakery) over coffee while venting to my mother on the beach." — Boston Globe

"With the pacing of a thriller, observations akin to poetry and real-life conflict like memoir, Newman’s novel about one family’s week on Cape Cod should find a place in your beach bag, even if your own summer vacation is in Bali. The menopausal Rocky, her husband, their two grown children (along with one’s partner), and her aged parents enjoy time-honored traditions but also have to figure out how to negotiate time’s changes on all of them." — Los Angeles Times

“If you like my novels, you will love love love this . . . . I stand in awe, it’s just perfect.” — Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Swan Song

"Sandwich is joy in book form. I laughed continuously, except for the parts that made me cry. Catherine Newman does a miraculous job reminding us of all the wonder there is to be found in life." — Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author of Tom Lake

“This delightful book just begs to get sand between its pages . . . . a beautiful testament to how decisions can reverberate down the decades and into the delicate future.” — People

If you want a book that has you from ‘hello,’ this is the one.” — Ann Patchett, PBS NewsHour

Sandwich will have you laughing through your tears . . . . You’ll be screenshotting paragraphs of this heartbreakingly honest novel to send to your friends.” — Real Simple

“I love [Newman's] writing . . . . I flew through it. I really think it’s going to be everywhere this summer . . . . it’s incredibly human and real and tender and I loved it. Catherine Newman is so talented.” — Carola Lovering, ABC/Good Morning America

“I couldn’t love it more, can’t stop talking about it, can’t stop texting full paragraphs to my friends saying, Right!!??? . . . . It’s so completely fun and laugh-out-loud funny the way summer reads are supposed to be.” — Jenny Rosenstrach, Cup of Jo

"Sandwich reminds me of Laurie Colwin’s Happy All the Time—Newman shares Colwin's ability to write about intertwined happiness and heartbreak (as well as her passion for food). I found myself snorting out loud with laughter, the wheezing kind, then all at once, deeply moved. This is a book about love and change and loss, all packed into an annual family week on Cape Cod. And it’s a total delight." — Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man and Welcome Home, Stranger

“Newman imbues Rocky’s internal struggles with importance and gravity, all while showcasing her very funny observations about life and parenting. She examines motherhood with a raw honesty that few others manage—she remembers the hard parts, the depths of despair, panic, and anxiety that can happen with young children, and she also recounts the joy in a way that never feels saccharine. She has a gift for exploring the real, messy contradictions in human emotions . . . . A moving, hilarious reminder that parenthood, just like life, means constant change.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Books with this one’s warmth and humor are truly rare.” — Good Housekeeping

“Newman . . . returns with a story about a woman coming to terms with life over 50. As her family gathers for the annual vacation on Cape Cod, Rocky is worn out by menopause and nostalgia . . . . she is within the sandwich generation, torn between past and present. Readers in this age group will relate to Rocky’s woes, and as the novel’s tone becomes more serious, they may identify with Rocky’s history as well. This is a quick yet moving read that will stay with readers long after the last page.” — Booklist (starred review)

"I loved reading this book! Not only do I want to send this gracious family a thank you note for having me along for a week at the beach, I’m still laughing out loud when I think of some sentences, and lumping up in my throat when I think of others." —  Eliza Minot, author of In the Orchard and The Tiny One

Newman . . . has skillfully crafted both setting and characters in this novel that will resonate with all in the "sandwich generation," caregivers for parents and children alike . . . . There is just enough humor thrown in that readers may laugh as much as they cry at the all-too-relatable situations and the razor-sharp witty conversations among the family members. Women’s fiction readers will gobble this delicious (though at times heartbreaking) sandwich right up.” — Library Journal (starred review)

“Like We All Want Impossible Things, Newman’s new novel is borne along by her humor . . . . the story is ultimately about harnessing the power of love and family bonds to overcome sadness and loss.” — Amherst Bulletin

"Catherine Newman nails it all: the hilarious domestic details of family life, the tremendous stakes of our most personal choices, and the vulnerability of loving other human beings wholeheartedly. I feel this book so deep in my bones." — Mary Laura Philpott, author of Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives

"I just finished Catherine Newman’s latest novel, Sandwich. I was reading it while waiting at my daughter’s ballet class, and I was crying-snorting-laughing." — Erin Boyle, Big Salad Newsletter

“If you’re looking for something short and snappy, read Sandwich. The new novel from Catherine Newman, the author of We All Want Impossible Things, is a pure delight.” — The Skimm

"A piece of perfection . . . Family, love, secrets, a marriage that is ordinary, imperfect, sexy and beautiful . . . I laughed, I cried and I laughed some more . . . a wonderful book about how families love, disagree, fail one another—and endure."   — Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

"A moving and heartwarming tale of family that rings deeply true." — Cambridge Day

“Catherine is a national treasure.” — Molly Wizenberg, I’ve Got A Feeling newsletter

“Catherine Newman has the most effervescent way of elevating mundane situations—from making a sandwich to fumbling with technology to arguing with your spouse. I’ve loved every Catherine Newman book I’ve read—from her nearly 10-year-old parenting memoir Waiting for Birdy to her devastatingly sad (and hilarious) novel We All Want Impossible Things—and this one, about the undeniable weirdness of raising adult children and caring for aging parents (all while spending a week at the beach) is no exception.” — Kveller

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063345164
ISBN-10: 0063345161
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: June 18th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English