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Self Storage

A Novel

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Paperback published by Ballantine Books (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Flan Parker has always had an inquisitive mind, searching for what’s hidden below the surface and behind the door. Her curious nature and enthusiastic probing have translated into a thriving resale business in the university housing complex where she lives with her husband and two young children. Flan’s venture helps pay the bills while her husband works on his dissertation, work that lately seems to involve more loafing on the sofa watching soap operas than reading or writing. The secret of her enterprising success: unique and everyday treasures bought from the auctions of forgotten and abandoned storage units.

When Flan secures the winning bid on a box filled only with an address and a note bearing the word “yes,” she sets out to discover the source of this mysterious message and its meaning. Armed with a well-worn copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass that she turns to for guidance and solace, Flan becomes determined to find the “yes” in her own life. This search inward only strengthens her desire to unearth the hidden stories of those around her–in particular, her burqa-clad Afghan neighbor. Flan’s interest in this intriguing and secretive woman, however, comes at a formidable price for Flan and her family.

Set during the year following the September 11 attacks, Self Storage explores the raw insecurities of a changed society. With lush writing, great humor, and a genuine heart, Gayle Brandeis takes a peek into the souls of a woman and a community–and reveals that it is not our differences that drive us apart but our willful concealment of the qualities that connect us.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Flan Parker has always had an inquisitive mind, searching for what’s hidden below the surface and behind the door. Her curious nature and enthusiastic probing have translated into a thriving resale business in the university housing complex where she lives with her husband and two young children. Flan’s venture helps pay the bills while her husband works on his dissertation, work that lately seems to involve more loafing on the sofa watching soap operas than reading or writing. The secret of her enterprising success: unique and everyday treasures bought from the auctions of forgotten and abandoned storage units.

When Flan secures the winning bid on a box filled only with an address and a note bearing the word “yes,” she sets out to discover the source of this mysterious message and its meaning. Armed with a well-worn copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass that she turns to for guidance and solace, Flan becomes determined to find the “yes” in her own life. This search inward only strengthens her desire to unearth the hidden stories of those around her–in particular, her burqa-clad Afghan neighbor. Flan’s interest in this intriguing and secretive woman, however, comes at a formidable price for Flan and her family.

Set during the year following the September 11 attacks, Self Storage explores the raw insecurities of a changed society. With lush writing, great humor, and a genuine heart, Gayle Brandeis takes a peek into the souls of a woman and a community–and reveals that it is not our differences that drive us apart but our willful concealment of the qualities that connect us.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Paperback (304 pages)
Published: February 12, 2008
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780345492616
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    The Book of Dead Birds

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