Goldberg Variations

A Novel

Goldberg Variations

The ultimate novel of family dysfunction from New York Times bestselling author Susan Isaacs, combining her trademark sass and wit, her distinctive characters, with reflections on faith, family, and inheritance that both entertain and enlighten.

Gloria Garrison nee Goldberg isn’t getting any younger. At seventy-nine, it’s time for her to plan for the future of Glory, Inc., the Santa Fe-based beauty makeover business that Gloria has grown from zilch into an eleven-million-a-year bonanza.
     But now Gloria has alienated her former business partner and chosen successor. Who will take over Glory? Gloria’s never been big on family and wrote them all out of her will, but suddenly she must contemplate her three grandkids as possible candidates.
     There’s twenty-nine-year-old Daisy, a New York story editor for a movie studio. Her brother, twenty-seven-year-old Matt, does sports PR. He can charm his way around ball players, the press, and a flurry of women. And there’s gutsy Raquel, who at age twenty-five is laboring away as a Legal Aid lawyer. She’s Catholic and a Goldberg and proud of it.
     When Gloria sends business-class tickets to tempt the three grandkids for a visit, they couldn’t be more surprised. Stranger still is the revelation that one of them and only one, may be offered the chance to inherit Glory.
     Always sassy, smart, and wickedly witty, Susan Isaacs is at her formidable best in a novel that is both hilariously funny and a deeply moving tale of family, faith, and reconciliation.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9781442359307 | 
  • October 2012
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Goldberg Variations includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Gloria Garrison is seventy-nine years old. She’s long ago reinvented herself, changing her name from Goldberg, ditching her husband in New York, and starting a beauty company in Santa Fe. Glory, Inc., a huge success, provides makeovers—hair, clothes, and makeup—out of the back of eighteen-wheelers across the South and West. Gloria is preparing to retire, but because of her outrageous emotional insensitivity and hurtful offhand comments, her younger partner has pulled out of the business; he never wants to speak to her again. So she sends plane tickets to her three grandchildren back in New York – Matt, Daisy, and Raquel – who haven’t seen her since they were kids. As soon as they arrive, she offers them a once in a lifetime opportunity: one (and only one!) of them will become the heir to Glory, Inc.’s multimillion dollar beauty empire; whoever can wow her in a weekend will inherit. Wiser and more principled than their grandmother, all three twenty-somethings refuse Gloria’s proposal. But the remainder of the weekend see more

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About the Author

Susan Isaacs
© Deborah Feingold

Susan Isaacs

Susan Isaacs is the author of thirteen novels, including As Husbands Go, Any Place I Hang My Hat, Long Time No See, and Compromising Positions. She is a former editor of Seventeen and a freelance political speechwriter. She lives on Long Island with her husband. All of her novels have been New York Times bestsellers.


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