The Melting Season [NOOK Book]

Overview

From one of today's hottest novelists and author of the bestselling The Middlesteins -- a provocative story about friendship and self-discovery.



Catherine Madison left her small town in Nebraska after her husband deserted her. She's also left behind her most shameful secrets-of a family and a marriage that have plagued her with self-doubt. On the road, she's trying to ...
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The Melting Season

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Overview

From one of today's hottest novelists and author of the bestselling The Middlesteins -- a provocative story about friendship and self-discovery.



Catherine Madison left her small town in Nebraska after her husband deserted her. She's also left behind her most shameful secrets-of a family and a marriage that have plagued her with self-doubt. On the road, she's trying to become a new person. But running away from the past isn't as easy as she'd hoped. Her journey leads her to Las Vegas, where she forms surprising new friendships that compel her to reveal what she'd sworn she'd keep hidden, and teach her what human connection really means.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From the author of The Kept Man comes an uneven road story about a woman fleeing from her past. Catherine “Moonie” Madison, 25, runs away from her stifling smalltown Nebraska life with a suitcase full of her husband's money, ending up in Las Vegas, where she finds a confidante and partner in crime in Valka, who, like her, is looking for escape. As the story progresses, Attenberg fills in Moonie's backstory via flashbacks; unfortunately, Moonie's hard-luck story is far less interesting than her adventures in Las Vegas. What resonates is her friendship with Valka, her dreamlike evening with a crew of hedonistic celebrity impersonators and her sometimes naïve observations on being outside of Nebraska for the first time. There's a promise of redemption as Moonie begins piecing together an unconventional life and stand-in family, but there's a certain deliberateness to the empowerment theme that makes it feel less than real. There are some nice moments, and Attenberg has a knack for poignant description, but the author seems distracted from the story she set out to tell. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Catherine Madison is on the run, headed west with a suitcase full of cash. We know little more than that she's leaving rural Nebraska to escape marriage and family troubles. Catherine winds up in Las Vegas, where her story slowly comes out as she befriends Valka, a cancer survivor abandoned by her fiancé. Thematically, Attenberg's latest (after The Kept Man) is akin to the "young woman finds her own path to overcome abusive family and adversity" genre exemplified by Jane Hamilton's The Book of Ruth and Janet Fitch's White Oleander. Unfortunately, Catherine is not a particularly engaging character, and quirky plot twists that could have been rendered darkly humorous are delivered in such flat prose that the reader's not sure if they were meant to be funny. VERDICT While the final revelation is heartbreaking, one feels more sympathy for Catherine's mother than the two daughters she psychologically damaged. Still, Attenberg's previous books have been popular, so her fans will be looking for her latest. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/09.]—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
Kirkus Reviews
Young Nebraska farm wife flees marital and family troubles for a Las Vegas adventure. For Catherine Madison, stealing nearly $200,000 from her estranged husband Thomas was the easy part; it's what to do with herself afterward that proves tricky. Hoping for a fresh start, or at least a chance to bide her time, she drives, trancelike, to Las Vegas and checks into a suite. At the hotel casino Catherine meets Valka, a cancer-survivor bombshell who takes pride in her reconstructed breasts and glamorous wigs. Valka takes the troubled younger woman under her wing and out on the town. They party with a troupe of celebrity impersonators, including a gender-bending Prince look-alike who takes a shine to naive Catherine, who has never been with anyone except Thomas. Soaking up the Sin City debauchery while claiming to still be in love with her husband, Catherine, egged on by Valka, slowly reveals the complex issues (one of them a doozy) that drove her and Thomas apart. Needy, sexually-insecure Thomas does not come across well, but Catherine has plenty of her own baggage, including an abusive alcoholic mom, emotionally remote dad and promiscuous teenage sister. No wonder she clung to Thomas like a life-raft, making their separation especially traumatic. Ultimately, concern for her pregnant sister gives Catherine the courage to face her family and its painful secrets before they destroy the happiness of another generation. Talented Attenberg (The Kept Man, 2008, etc.) deftly keeps things from getting too maudlin, and damaged, quirky Catherine makes for an especially convincing heroine. Intelligent, moving portrait of a journey to self-awareness, with meaty characters and a refreshing absence ofpsychobabble.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101184639
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/21/2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 695,415
  • File size: 245 KB

Meet the Author

Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg is the author of the novels The Middlesteins and The Kept Man and of the story collection Instant Love. She has written for The New York Times, New York, Salon, Nylon, Print, Nerve, and others. Chicago native, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Melting Season

    The Melting Season is a book about forgiveness, starting over, and being true to oneself. Catherine has led a sheltered life and is on a journey to find herself, that journey takes her across the country and a million miles from home. The first half of the story is the actual journey itself. The second half of the story is Catherine in Las Vegas telling her story to her new friend. The story is an interesting one to read about. Being from the Midwest, and having traveled I80 frequently, I enjoyed that aspect of the story. When Catherine starts talking about her past, you can not help but be swept up in her story. Her life has been something out of a Lifetime movie and you start to understand why she chose to run away from home. Jami Attenberg has written a heartfelt novel of self discovery that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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