Silver Alert (Hardcover)
"Smith's latest is as delicious as a slice of key lime pie – and gone just as fast." ―People
"It's very different and it's very special and it's very good! I loved it." —Dolly Parton
A driving force in literature, Lee Smith returns with a road trip novel, a story full of hope and humor about not going away quietly—at any age.
Herb’s charmed life with his dear wife Susan in their Key West house is coming undone. Susan, in her 70s, now needs constant care, and Herb is in denial about his own ailing health. The one bright spot is the arrival of an endlessly optimistic manicurist calling herself Renee. She sings to Susan during manicures, gets her to paint, and brings her a much-needed sense of contentment.
Then Herb and Susan’s adult children arrive to stage an intervention with their stubborn, independent father, and as a consequence, Renee’s gig with Susan—and her grand plans for her own life—start to unravel as well. Herb isn’t ready to let go of all that he has ever had, and it turns out that Renee is not the happy, uncomplicated girl she pretends to be. She is not even Renee; she is really Dee Dee, and she, too, has reasons of her own to hit the road. So Herb suggests one last joy ride in his Porsche with her riding shotgun; and they light out for parts north, setting off a Silver Alert.
As the unlikely friendship between Herb and Dee Dee deepens, we see how as one life is closing down, another opens up. This time that Dee Dee has spent with Susan, this time in Key West, and this time in the Porsche with the elderly Herb reveals to Dee Dee how much more truly lies ahead.
In this buoyant novel, the masterful Smith asks: What life do we deserve? And how do we make it our own? Sometimes, you just have to seize the wheel.
About the Author
Lee Smith began writing stories at the age of nine and selling them for a nickel apiece. Since then, she has written seventeen works of fiction, including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, Guests on Earth, and most recently, Dimestore. She has received many awards, including the North Carolina Award for Literature and an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; her novel The Last Girls was a New York Times bestseller as well as winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.
"Smith's latest is as delicious as a slice of key lime pie – and gone just as fast."—People
“Silver Alert is Lee Smith at the top of her game, and that is a high bar indeed. It’s brilliantly paced with some of the most energetic prose I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The characters of Herb Atlas and Dee Dee are a pair for the ages, who you will long remember after the fall of the last page.”—David Baldacci, author of Dream Town
"There are many ways to read Lee Smith’s excellent new novel Silver Alert, but I view it as the toll old age has taken on her characters, with all its indignities and absurdities, as well as a wry view of America itself. Staged in iconic Key West, the improviser’s Paradise, it’s an implied prayer for our expressing kindness in gestures large and small."—Ann Beattie, author of The Accomplished Guest
“Lee Smith’s Silver Alert doesn’t just soar. It seems at times to defy the laws of literary gravity. That a book so full of hope should emerge right now is truly remarkable.” —Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls and Chances Are….
“Silver Alert is classic Lee Smith: laugh-out-loud funny and deeply moving, full of endearing, complex characters who become real people to the reader. ...a lovely, raucous look at life in Key West, growing old, and unlikely friendships.”—Garden & Gun, The Best New Books for Southerners in 2023
“Silver Alert is rich with Lee Smith’s gift for vivid storytelling and memorable asides … at once lively, grim, funny, and poignant.”—Chapter16.org
“With themes of living life to the fullest and second chances, Lee Smith’s Silver Alert would make a perfect 2023 beach read.”—Reader's Digest, 25 Best Fiction Books of 2023 (So Far)
"This hilarious, timely and emotional novel will reframe the way you think about the golden years. Herb and Renee's friendship leads to a high-octane twist that will leave you breathless. Silver Alert is a shimmering arrow that aims straight for the heart." —Adriana Trigiani, author of The Good Left Undone
“Nobody mines the bittersweet absurdities of Southern family life and living better than prolific, masterful storyteller Lee Smith… Silver Alert…takes readers on a deeply meaningful, unforgettable ride brimming with hope.”—Shelf Awareness
“Smith skillfully pivots from wry humor to real tenderness toward her quirkily engaging characters. Beneath the novel’s occasionally frothy surface beats a compassionate, generous heart. A warmhearted story of improbably matched characters trying to reclaim their lives.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Likely to resonate with fans of Marian Keyes, Lynda Rutledge, and Andrew J. Graff, Smith's novel is an incisive and heartwarming exploration of life's fragile phases.”—Booklist
“There's plenty of charm...this is a treat.”—Publishers Weekly
“Lovable characters and a gripping story.”—The Bookworm
“When I hear there is another book by Lee Smith, it brightens my day. There are only a handful of authors who elicit that response.”—Tuscaloosa News
"No one has tapped into Southern truths quite like the Virginia-raised author. Just ask the legion of writers who praise her for guiding their own stories."—Garden & Gun