A Dangerous Woman

( 3 )

Overview

Martha Horgan is not like other women. She stares. She has violent crushes on people. She can't stop telling the truth. Martha craves love, independence, and companionship, but her relentless honesty makes her painfully vulnerable to those around her: Frances, her wealthy aunt and begrudging guardian; Birdy, who befriends her, then cruelly rejects her; and Colin Mackey, the seductive man who preys on her desires. Confused and bitter, distyrusting even those with her best interests at heart, Martha is propelled ...

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Overview

Martha Horgan is not like other women. She stares. She has violent crushes on people. She can't stop telling the truth. Martha craves love, independence, and companionship, but her relentless honesty makes her painfully vulnerable to those around her: Frances, her wealthy aunt and begrudging guardian; Birdy, who befriends her, then cruelly rejects her; and Colin Mackey, the seductive man who preys on her desires. Confused and bitter, distyrusting even those with her best interests at heart, Martha is propelled into a desperate attempt to gain control over her own life.

A novel of unnerving suspense and terrifying insight into the perversities of passion, A Dangerous Woman is as devastatingly honest as Martha herself.

Martha Horgan is different. She stares at people. She can't stop telling the truth. She is prone to crushes so violent that she will call someone she likes dozens of times in a single night. The genius of Mary McGarry Morris's latest novel lies in its uncannily felt portrait of a woman who teeters on the edge of madness.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This second novel corroborates the remarkable talent McGarry displayed in Vanished , her stunning story of a child kidnapped by two misfits. Here again her protagonist is a woman who is not ``normal,'' 32-year-old, emotionally unstable Martha Horgan. Neither Martha nor her small Vermont town have recovered from an incident in Martha's teens when she was sexually humiliated by a group of boys; ``that night in the woods'' is the leitmotif of her life. Now universally known as ``Marthorgan,'' achingly aware that she is different but unable to govern her inappropriate behavior, Martha is handicapped by an outspoken candor unfettered by tact or guile. Having lost her only job and the benevolent attention of the kindhearted woman who hired her, Martha is obliged to return to the home of her aunt, the young widow of the town's richest citizen, who grudgingly assumes responsibility for her high-strung niece. When a seedy, erratic but charming boozer comes on the scene, Martha's uncontrollable sexual longing and the aftermath of her obsessive love breed inevitable tragedy. McGarry's portrayal of Martha's damaged psyche is unerringly empathetic, honest and compassionate. She turns the same clear-sighted eye on the book's other characters, a richly human mixture, and even the less admirable sometimes redeem themselves with thoughtfulness toward the self-destructive Martha. In the end, as Martha falls through the safety net her impaired condition requires, the community confronts its culpability in failing to provide emotional succor. In this compelling, suspenseful narrative, Morris speaks to larger issues while limning an unforgettable portrait of a vulnerable woman. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; BOMC selection; movie rights to Am blin Entertainment; author tour. Jan. .
Library Journal
Martha Horgan, the emotionally disabled protagonist, was gang-raped as a teenager; now, 15 years later, her life is finally flowing smoothly. She has moved away from her cold, domineering aunt and has a job at the cleaners, a room in a boarding house, even a worshipful admirer in Wesley Mount, the town mortician. But someone has been stealing from the till and ``Marthorgan,'' as her taunters call her, gets canned. Back at her aunt's place she is seduced by the caretaker, a frustrated, manipulative writer, and then must suffer through his affair with her aunt. What makes Martha a dangerous woman is her unfailing honesty; she hasn't learned the world's way of lying, of hiding behind a social mask. At one point Birdy, her friend, tries on Martha's glasses to see if she really does view the world differently. Though the subject matter is somber, Morris tells a powerful tale. Her first novel ( The Waiting Room, LJ 5/15/89) was a National Book Award and a PEN/Faulkner nominee. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/90.-- Doris Lynch, Oakland P.L., Cal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140272116
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,427,639
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary McGarry Morris is the author of Vanished, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award; A Dangerous Woman, which was chosen by Time as of of the five best novels of 1991; Songs in Ordinary Time, an Oprah's Book Club Selection and national bestseller, and the critically acclaimed Fiona Range and A Hole in the Universe. She lives in Andover, Massachussetts.

On the web: http://www.marymcgarrymorris.com

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Hard to put down

    With every character Mary McGarry Morris writes about you seem to take on a kinship with them. She decribes them so vividly. I found myself relating them to people in my own life (oe I suspect they might be). Getting inside someones head takes a master of an author. I also get an insight to other peoples feelings underneath what is visible on the outside. The story moved along wonderfully. I didn't want it to end. The only critisism and it's entirely just an opinion--I have a hard time with the ending. I had a similar experience with her other novel "The Last Secret". They (the endings) really throw me off. They are entirelyunexpected; but in a way--well--they don't fit. In both cases it left me unbalanced. But I shall read this author again. I really like her style.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2000

    Mary MCGarry Morris Is Spot On

    Ms. Morris has portrayed her characters beau- tifully - especialy the emothionaly disturbed Martha Horgan. I know this from personal experience. In my youth I was, to a lesser extent, Martha. Ms. Morris creates a character for whom I ache - all too knowingly. The alcoholic Mack is well done as anyone who has lived with the disease will recognize. Perhaps part of Ms. Morris's point is that such people as Martha are agonizingly hard to love or even to care much about. Her novel is splendid.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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