'Sushi for Beginners'

Irish author Marian Keyes has written five international bestsellers. Now her sixth novel, "Sushi for Beginners," is hitting shelves just in time for summer vacation.

Although her work is often labeled "chic lit," her chatty female characters and funny plot lines deal with some dark issues not typically found in a casual beach read.

Keyes visited The Saturday Early Show to discuss her new novel.

She has sold more than 7 million copies of her novels and the film rights to some of the books — making her one of the wealthiest women in Ireland. The books have been translated into Russian and even Hebrew, and fly off the shelves in Sweden.

Keyes says her new book tells the story about three women who are all in uncomfortable situations. Soon they take risks to change their life, for better or worse.

In "Sushi for Beginners," Colleen magazine's editor Lisa Edwards is a women obsessed with her diet, her hair, and her shoes. She's in the process of a divorce because, according to her husband, the job always came first and he always came second. When she's forced to move to Ireland and slow down just a little, she realizes that she sacrificed a personal life for her career.

Ashling Kennedy, Colleen's assistant editor, is in a constant worried state. And she has a boyfriend who is unfaithful. Can she turn her world around and find the confidence to pursue what she wants?

Kennedy's best friend, Clodagh has a handsome husband who loves her, two children and a beautiful home. But she is unhappy and bored.

Keyes says her willingness to tackle dark issues and their consequences sets her work apart from other "chic lit" such as "Bridget Jones' Diary" and "The Devil Wears Prada." However, she shares the urban, post-feminist women comedy of those books.

She says part of the fun of writing is researching her novels. To prepare "Sushi for Beginners," she joined the staff of an Irish magazine. But, she says, it was a less than glamorous job then she initially thought.
  • Rome Neal

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