PERSONAL: Born in England; married Jonathan Margolis (a journalist); children: three. Education: Attended Nottingham University.
ADDRESSES: Home—West London, England. Office—c/o Author Mail, Delta Publicity, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.
CAREER: Writer. Worked as a British Broadcasting Corporation, Inc. (BBC) radio reporter. Contributor to BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.
Neurotica (novel), Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Spin Cycle (novel), Dell (New York, NY), 2001.
Apocalipstick (novel), Delta (New York, NY), 2003.
Breakfast at Stephanie's (novel), Delta (New York, NY), 2004.
Original Cyn (novel), Delta (New York, NY), 2005.
Gucci Gucci Coo (novel), Delta (New York, NY), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Sue Margolis's Neurotica is the story of one woman's struggle for sexual fulfillment in late-twentieth-century Britain. The protagonist of the book is journalist Anna Shapiro, who, while researching and writing an article on a new feminist book advocating adultery, "embarks on three spine-tingling extramarital trysts," a Publishers Weekly contributor stated. Frustrated by her hypochondriac husband's neglect, Anna enjoys her new sensual experiences without regret—until she finds herself developing deeper feelings for one of her lovers and must confront the possibility of losing her loving husband and family.
Many reviewers considered the novel intelligent and funny. "Margolis's prose is witty and sure," observed a Publishers Weekly contributor, who pointed out that Anna's adventures bring her to a "new understanding." Library Journal contributor Beth Gibbs observed that "this very British romp is R-rated fun: clever and amusing, but also a bit trashy." In Booklist, Alexandra Shrake expressed a similar view: "This raunchy and racy British novel is great fun, and will delight fans of the television show Absolutely Fabulous."
Discussing her first novel, Margolis told Redbook interviewer Jennifer Soong that "sex is the hardest thing to write…. I wanted to tell it straight, in a way that I thought would turn women on…. I kept thinking everyone would say, 'Oh, Sue Margolis must have a really awful sex life—that's the best she can think up?' So I thought, 'Oh, God, I've got to come up with something really clever.'"
Margolis followed with Spin Cycle, which Booklist contributor Kristine Huntley described as a "delightful novel … filled with more than a few big laughs." Rachel Katz has given up her journalism career to try to make it as a standup comic and works as a maid to a rich family during the day. Her former husband is gay, her ten-year-old-son is a Barbra Streisand fan, and her mother is pushing her to marry Adam, a boring dentist. Life changes for Rachel when she meets Matt, a bright and attractive washing machine repairman who understands her jokes. Library Journal reviewer Beth Gibbs commented that "Margolis is able to keep the witty one-liners spraying like bullets." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote of the story that "there's a matey goodness here, an affection for all things human, that makes it a nourishing delight."
Michelle Kaske commented in Booklist that in Apocalipstick, "Margolis combines light-hearted suspense with sharp English wit and romping Benny Hill humor." Rebecca Fine longs to be an investigative reporter but is pigeonholed as a beauty columnist at a London magazine. The final blow comes when she is asked to give up her workspace for the new environment and science reporter, Max Stoddart. But Max, with whom Rebecca has a night of romance, provides the information that leads her to the investigation of fraud in the cosmetics industry. Meanwhile, her grandmother, trying to marry her off to the appropriate man with whom Rebecca might have children, posts to a Web site whose single male members are in the medical field. Rebecca finds strange e-mails coming to her from doctors, male midwives, an ambulance driver, and a prosthetic limb technician. She is also dealing with her father and his midlife crisis, which he is soothing by dating Rebecca's former classmate nicknamed "Lipstick" for the heavy application of the cosmetic she wore. A Kirkus Reviews contributor described Apocalipstick as being "quick in pace and often very funny."
Stephanie Glassman, protagonist of Breakfast at Stephanie's, is the single mother of two-year-old Jake and a singer who performs in piano bars and at other odd jobs while waiting for her big break. She has begun a relationship with celebrity Frank Waterman when Albert, Jake's father as the result of a short fling, appears on Christmas with gifts and soon after, a proposal that they become a family. Stephanie's break comes, but it is an offer to lip-synch for rising Hollywood star Katherine Martinez (nicknamed "K-Mart"), a job that has some ethical issues attached. Stephanie shares her dilemmas with her best friends, Lizzie and Cass, and her sexually active seventy-nine-year-old grandmother adds another dimension to the plot. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the novel is "rife with female frivolity, punchy one-liners, and sex. Margolis … is at her best when she veers from the shenanigans and lets us glimpse our heroine in her poignant everyday struggles."
In Original Cyn, Cyn Fishbein works in Dublin as a junior copywriter, but her advancement is being sidetracked by her chief rival, Chelsea Roggenfelder, who puts her in embarrassing situations and steals her idea for the ad campaign of a company producing low-fat doughnuts. Cyn, who has been relatively sin-free, commits a couple when she impersonates Chelsea to prove the idea was hers and when she dates Joe, a member of her therapy group, something that is forbidden by their therapist.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 1999, Alexandra Shrake, review of Neurotica, p. 1802; October 15, 2001, Kristine Huntley, review of Spin Cycle, p. 383; December 15, 2002, Michelle Kaske, review of Apocalipstick, p. 739; June 1, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Breakfast at Stephanie's, p. 1702.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of Apocalipstick, p. 1498; April 1, 2004, review of Breakfast at Stephanie's, p. 289; March 1, 2005, review of Original Cyn, p. 251.
Library Journal, July, 1999, Beth Gibbs, review of Neurotica, p. 134; September 15, 2001, Beth Gibbs, review of Spin Cycle, p. 113; March 15, 2005, Beth Gibbs, review of Original Cyn, p. 75.
Publishers Weekly, April 26, 1999, review of Neurotica, p. 54; September 24, 2001, review of Spin Cycle, p. 70; April 19, 2004, review of Breakfast at Stephanie's, p. 37.
Redbook, September, 1999, Jennifer Soong, "Desperately Seeking (Married) Sex" (interview), p. G2.