From twice National Book Award-nominated Rachel Kushner, whose Flamethrowers was called "the best, most brazen, most interesting book of the year" (Kathryn Schulz, New York magazine), comes a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America. It's 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women's Correctional Facility, deep in California's Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision. Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room demonstrates new levels of mastery and depth in Kushner's work. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined. As James Wood said in The New Yorker, her fiction "succeeds because it is so full of vibrantly different stories and histories, all of them particular, all of them brilliantly alive." "Kushner is going to be one we turn to for our serious pleasures and for the insight and wisdom we'll be needing in hard times to come. She is a novelist of the very first order." -Robert Stone "Kushner is a young master. I honestly don't know how she is able to know so much and convey all of this in such a completely entertaining and mesmerizing way." -George Saunders
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by Rachel Dratch
by Rachel Kushner
by Harold Kushner
by Rachel Cohn
by Rachel Caine
by Rachel Vincent
by Rachel Dylan
by Rachel Gibson
by Rachel Cooke
by Rachel Goodman
"Author Rachel Kushner narrates her novel about Romy Hall, a 20-something exotic dancer condemned to serve two life sentences (plus six years) for killing the man who was stalking her. The story focuses on the bleak realities faced by resourceless women who end up in California's penal systems, sometimes for trivial offenses. Kushner's delivery is expressive and varied in tempo, but her youthful voice, with its hint of innocence, is not a good match for Romy and the other tough characters. Despite the diversity of the inmates, Kushner doesn't strongly distinguish their voices, making it difficult to keep track of the characters' backgrounds, situations, and personalities. The plot has some tangents, but fans of the current trend of women-in-prison stories will be satisfied. C.B.L. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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