Bloody Mary: A Novel

Bloody Mary: A Novel

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by Sharon Solwitz
     
 

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After her debut with the widely praised stories in Blood and Milk, Sharon Solwitz offers us her first, darkly radiant, full-length novel. Bloody Mary, which takes its title from the childhood game, tells the story of socially adept, 12-year-old Hadley and her protective mother. They live a privileged life in the Chicago neighborhood of Lakeview, but

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Overview

After her debut with the widely praised stories in Blood and Milk, Sharon Solwitz offers us her first, darkly radiant, full-length novel. Bloody Mary, which takes its title from the childhood game, tells the story of socially adept, 12-year-old Hadley and her protective mother. They live a privileged life in the Chicago neighborhood of Lakeview, but soon find themselves in a state of chaos and flux.

Writing with her signature, edgy prose and ironic humor, Solwitz demonstrates that happiness "isn’t our birthright" and that "we have to work for it and even then we can’t be sure." We are led to consider our own degree of complicity in the hard times that seem to fall from nowhere.

"A flair for dark comedy and the ability to turn on a dime are prized qualities for these unpredictable characters; time and again, their intrepid investigations lead them into uncharted territory where bizarre dramatic action seems to be the only possible move. Solwitz’s fine-toothed examinations of complex emotional states are dead on…."—The New York Times Book Review

Sharon Solwitz's first collection of stories, Blood and Milk, won the 1998 Carl Sandburg Prize from Friends of the Chicago Public Library, the prize for adult fiction from the Society of Midland Authors, and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. Her short stories, published in such magazines as TriQuarterly, Mademoiselle, and Ploughshares, have won numerous awards, including the Pushcart Prize, the Katherine Anne Porter Prize, and grants and fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council. Currently, along with her husband, poet Barry Silesky, she has worked as fiction editor of Another Chicago Magazine. She teaches fiction at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Claire Winger seems to have it all. She loves her job as a pediatric oncology nurse and is happily married to Leo, an ophthalmologist. Her elder daughter, Nora, makes good grades, runs track, and plays the violin. Though 13-year-old Hadley has yet to come into her own, she sometimes demonstrates a wisdom beyond her years. Then, suddenly, everything starts to spin out of control. Claire has her first seizure since childhood yet remains in denial, and Hadley can't decide whether she should continue trying to fit in or cultivate a persona of indifference. Soon both mother and daughter are caught up in a spiral of bad decision-making: Claire begins an affair and sinks slowly into self-indulgence, while Hadley walks out of a slumber party and into the world of street kids. Alternating between Claire's first-person narrative and Hadley's story, told in the third person, this first novel by the author of the acclaimed story collection Blood and Milk leaves the reader with much to ponder. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati State Technical & Community Coll. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Storywriter Solwitz (Blood and Milk, 1997) offers a grim debut novel about an unhappy Chicago family starting to come apart at the seams. On the surface, Claire Winger seems fine-the middle-aged wife of an eye surgeon, she works as a nurse in a children's hospital, has two bright teenaged daughters, and lives in a pleasant upscale neighborhood of Chicago-but she has unexplained seizures that arise out of nowhere, not to mention a pervasive and equally inexplicable sense of foreboding. Medications help keep the seizures under control, but Claire still feels frequently anxious and out-of-sorts. Her elder daughter, Nora, a demure high-school sophomore increasingly drawn to Christianity, worries that her mother may be suicidal. Younger daughter Hadley notices Claire's moodiness but is too obsessed with boyfriends and her own popularity to pay much attention. Meanwhile, husband Leo tries to help but is ineffectual by nature and worn down by Claire's relentless neediness. When he hesitates to defend her from an armed thug on the street one night, a fatal gap opens up between them. Claire throws herself into an affair with Bodey Marcus, a self-centered acting teacher, and she pays less and less attention to her girls. This encourages Hadley to neglect her studies to such a degree that she's soon on the verge of flunking. Eventually, Hadley runs away from home when Leo and Nora are out of town, and Claire has to call the police to look for her. Like much adolescent angst, Hadley's discontent hints at a deeper problem-one having more to do with her parents than herself. When she comes home, will things improve? Does she even have a home to come back to? Standard domestic drama, nicely constructed,with some good characters and a strong storyline, yet predictable and somewhat flat all the same. Agent: Maria Massie/Witherspoon Associates

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781889330938
Publisher:
Sarabande Books
Publication date:
08/01/2003
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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