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Synopsis

From a writer whose work Robert Coover has described as "subtle, wise, intricate, innovative," a rich novel of family rivalries, corporate maneuvers, and sexual intrigue--set in a small Wisconsin beer town.
In the background: a small family-run brewery, Gutenbier, whose backward business practices have been miraculously transformed into an asset by the new vogue for microbreweries and designer beverages.
At the center: two women whose world is the brewery. Melissa Johnson is the heiress to Gutenbier, and Alice Reinhart works there. On her father's death, Melissa inherits the chairmanship everyone expected to go to her brother and finds herself resented by both workers and management. Alice, returning from New York and a bad marriage, takes up her job in the brewery only to discover that an indiscretion she committed at seventeen has surfaced and has made her the object of a series of seemingly innocent pranks that slowly reveal a darker intent. As these two women fight the forces arrayed against them and the novel moves toward its climax, the business, the politics--the life--of a town are compellingly portrayed.

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