It’s been seven years, and Eleanor Rushing is still waiting for Maxim Walters, the love of her life, to leave his wife and move into her rambling mansion on St. Charles Avenue. But when she meets Dr. Richard Kimball—tall, dark, handsome, and a plastic surgeon—her life takes on a whole new direction. Smitten, she decides to go under his knife to alter her looks, and her life. But the summer of 2005 has other plans in store and Hurricane Katrina interrupts Eleanor’s transformation.
As the water rises, self-absorbed Eleanor, thinking only skin deep, floats on the surface of the disaster. She and her longtime housekeeper Naomi wade through the flooded streets of New Orleans, and wind up in Houston along with Dr. Kimball, who gives Eleanor more plastic surgery. This time the result is hideous. Eleanor returns to New Orleans with a body as wrecked as the city and neither will ever be the same.
In this tragicomic novel, Patty Friedmann deftly exposes the damaged and tenuously intact faces of New Orleans. Friedmann helps us to understand that transformation is probably the most difficult image to process—especially when change has been wrought by someone or something beyond our control.