February 10, 2021
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In Kate Russo’s novel, Super Host, Bennett Driscoll is a Turner Prize-nominated artist who was once a rising star. Now, at age 55, his wife has left him, he hasn’t sold a painting in two years, and hasn’t been reviewed in five. His gallery wants to stop selling his work, claiming they’ll have more value retrospectively…when he’s dead. So, left with a large West London home and no income, he’s forced to move into his artist’s studio in the back garden and rent out his house on the popular vacation rental site, AirBed…As he paints, and the finished canvases stack up in a spare room, he obsessively grooms his listing to achieve coveted “Super Host” status on the site. He is broke and lonely, a stranger in his own home, indecisive and “stuck”—at least according to his ex-wife, who has moved on from London to a new home in America with a new love.
All that begins to change when three separate guests—lonely Alicia, obsessive compulsive Emma, and cautiously optimistic divorcee Kirstie—check in to his house and unwittingly unlocks parts of himself he’s forgotten for so long. A trained voyeur, whose classically styled portraits of women once fetched top-dollar, Bennett can’t stop clumsily spying on the women who stay in the master bedroom that looms over his garden studio, puzzling over their lives and struggling to reconcile his needs for companionship and purpose.
As the stories of these three women reveal themselves in turn, Bennett must decide whether to confront his past failings as a father, husband, and artist and reclaim what’s most important to him—in his career, in his love life, and in the people who depend on him.
Kate Russo grew up in Maine but now divides her time between Maine and the UK. She has an MFA in painting from the Slade School of Fine Art, and while living in London, she worked with the theatre group, Love Bites, who presented two of her short plays (“The Blind” and “Bernie’s Night Off”) at the Calder Bookshop Theatre. She exhibits widely in the United States and England. She currently lives in Portland, ME.
Tom Perrotta is the bestselling author of nine works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into Oscar-nominated films, and The Leftovers, which was adapted into a critically acclaimed, Peabody Award-winning HBO series. His other books include Bad Haircut, The Wishbones, Joe College, The Abstinence Teacher, Nine Inches, and his newest, Mrs. Fletcher. His work has been translated into a multitude of languages. Perrotta grew up in New Jersey and lives outside of Boston.