The Pessimists by Bethany Ball
“Agnes had interviewed them when they'd applied to the school. Rachel wanted desperately for her to approve them. To accept them. To stamp them with her special Petra School stamp.”
Welcome to small town Connecticut, a place whose inhabitants seem to have it all—the status, the homes, the money, and the ennui.
There's Tripp and Virginia, beloved hosts whom the community idolizes, whose basement hides among other things a secret stash of guns and a drastic plan to survive the end times. There's Gunter and Rachel, recent transplants who left New York City to raise their children, only to feel both imprisoned by the banality of suburbia. And Richard and Margot, community veterans whose extramarital affairs and battles with mental health are disguised by their enviably polished veneers and perfect children.
At the center of it all is the Petra School, the most coveted of all the private schools in the state, a supposed utopia of mindfulness and creativity, with a history as murky and suspect as our character's inner worlds.What I thought
Bethany Ball was born in Detroit and now lives in New York with her family. The Pessimests, published by Grove Atlantic, is her second novel. Her first, What To Do About the Solomons, also published by Grove, came out in 2017.