Goldberg Variations

A Story of Three Cousins and a Fortune

Goldberg Variations

From New York Times bestselling author Susan Issacs, a “deliciously wicked” (Publishers Weekly) story of three cousins and a fortune.

Imagine King Lear as a comedy…

At seventy-nine, Gloria Garrison must plan for the future of Glory, Inc., the beauty-makeover business that she has grown from zilch into an eleven-million-dollar-per-year bonanza. Gloria’s never been big on family, but she’s forced to contemplate her three grandkids as objects of her largesse.

There’s Daisy, a story editor for a movie studio; her brother, Matt, who does PR for a New York baseball team; and cousin Raquel, laboring away as a Legal Aid lawyer.

When Gloria sends plane tickets and a weekend invitation to Santa Fe, the cousins couldn’t be more surprised. But the visit holds an unexpected twist for Gloria, too. 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 discovery.
  • Scribner | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451605921 | 
  • June 2013
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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 t 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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