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The Lady Waiting: A Novel

The Lady Waiting: A Novel

Current price: $28.00
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Riverhead Books
Available for Preorder


The White Lotus meets The Talented Mr. Ripley in this high-spirited novel of a stolen Vermeer, a Polish transplant in LA, and the charismatic couple who seduce her into a misguided international heist

One bright Los Angeles day, a young Polish émigré named Viva is driving along the freeway when she’s flagged down by a dazzling, disheveled woman in green chiffon. The woman is Bobby Sleeper, a fellow Eastern European and an erstwhile art gallerist with a mysterious background and even more mysterious filmmaker husband. Within days the couple hire Viva as their assistant, then enlist her as an accomplice in an improbable scheme involving a long-lost Vermeer masterwork, a multi-million-dollar reward, and several shadowy ex-husbands.

As Bobby and her husband weave her ever more tightly into their web, Viva is swept up in an escapade that’s one part art heist, one part love triangle, and one part education of a felon. Entranced by their lifestyle, alarmed by their ramshackle scam, Viva realizes she’s out of her depth—and that only luck, cunning, and her own hustler’s instinct can save her from disaster. Careening from the canyons of LA to the canals of Venice, The Lady Waiting is a page-turning caper, a cavalcade of twenty-first-century sins—rapacious capitalism, shameless fraud, and atrocious behavior—and a showcase for three of the biggest and most unforgettable characters in recent fiction.

About the Author

Magdalena Zyzak was born in Silesia, Poland. She received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She is the author of the novel The Ballad of Barnabas Pierkiel, hailed as “a wickedly good debut” by the Los Angeles Times. Also a filmmaker, she has written, directed, and produced several motion pictures, including Redland, which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, and Maya Dardel, released internationally by Samuel Goldwyn Pictures and MGM/Orion. Zyzak has been honored as an outstanding cultural figure in the Polish community abroad by the Teraz Polska, a cultural foundation.

Praise for The Lady Waiting: A Novel

Advance praise for The Lady Waiting:

“With its madcap plot, fantastic central characters, and White Lotus–style wealth porn. . . Zyzak’s second novel seems like catnip for Hollywood. Funny, original, worldly, and very cool. A standout.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“This novel pops. Magdalena Zyzak is in complete control and her world comes through with the clarity of the Vermeer at the center of it all. A cosmopolitan, sexy and funny novel.” —Percival Everett, author of The Trees

“A juicy and insanely original novel overflowing with effervescent prose and captivating characters. Audacious, entertaining, and over-the-top, this is the literary equivalent of your most bingeable show.” —Rachel Yoder, author of Nightbitch
“A novel rich with charm and wisdom, crackling with wit and such a playful, subversive tone you might not catch the deeper isolation it examines so well. A superb accomplishment.” —Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

“A deliciously madcap, wholly original tale of friendship, lust, and ambition. Zyzak ably explores what it takes to survive in a world turned upside down—and what is lost when one succeeds. I savored every word.” –Kirstin Chen, New York Times-Bestselling author of Counterfeit

“With insights and characters so fresh they made me giddy, The Lady Waiting is raucous, sexy, and deeply hilarious.” –Julia May Jonas, author of Vladimir

“A wildly crazy and funny novel, full of exotic characters and executed to technical perfection by Magdalena Zyzak. It made my brain more glamorous.” Cat Marnell, author of How to Murder Your Life

Praise for The Ballad of Barnabas Pierkiel:

“Inventive and funny. . . unexpectedly moving.” The New York Times

“A wickedly good debut [with] a fleet-footed, darkly comic spirit . . . Zyzak's wicked wit expresses a matter-of-fact acceptance of the world as it is, rife with cruelty and suffering, but also with kindness, love and a lot of laughs…Mark Twain, for one, would have thoroughly enjoyed the all-too-human misadventures she describes.”Los Angeles Times

“Make way for Magdalena Zyzak! She writes in a way uniquely her own and approaches the English language with the joy and reverence of her countryman Joseph Conrad. The Ballad of Barnabas Pierkiel is a heady drink.”Gary Shteyngart