In Seattle-based writer Maria Semple’s latest book, Today Will Be Different (Little, Brown and Company, $27) desperate housewife and former animator Eleanor Flood races around Seattle one day (see map) trying to make sense of everything that seems to matter in her life.
Much like her last book, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Semple incorporates city highlights into her sometimes zany—but consistently funny—plot. (We can tell from the name-dropping that Semple, an L.A. transplant, is feeling more at home.) Given Seattle’s traffic, could Eleanor make it to all these spots in the day the plot spans? Now that’s good fiction.
1. Galer Street School on Queen Anne: The fictitious red brick school overlooking Puget Sound that her son attends
2. Key Arena: Eleanor searches for her husband here
3. Space Needle: It’s always hovering
4. Lola: The Tom Douglas eatery where she meets her poetry teacher every Thursday morning
5. Mamnoon: She stops here with her son for lunch
6. Starbucks on Melrose and Pine (i.e. the Roastery): It’s where her husband, Joe, likes to write
7. Jazz Alley: Joe loves it and gets season tickets; she’s not a fan
8. Olympic Sculpture Park: A lot happens here amid the eclectic art pieces, and she trips right by the red Calder
9. Tavolata: She plans on having rigatoni there that night but doesn’t make it
10. The Clink: Century Link Field, where her husband works as team doc for the Seahawks.