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Newfangled: A Novel
     

Newfangled: A Novel

by Debra Monroe, Colleen Mohyde, Doe Coover, Rebecca Saletan, Colleen Mohyde
 

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In this debut novel by the author of "A Wild, Cold State", a woman tries to transcend her disconnected, interrupted past. Maidie Bonasso is a woman accustomed to moving--from state to state, job to job, one circle of intimates to another. When Maidie arrives in Tucson to take a job as curator of the very strange Museum of Domestic History and Home Economy, she begins

Overview

In this debut novel by the author of "A Wild, Cold State", a woman tries to transcend her disconnected, interrupted past. Maidie Bonasso is a woman accustomed to moving--from state to state, job to job, one circle of intimates to another. When Maidie arrives in Tucson to take a job as curator of the very strange Museum of Domestic History and Home Economy, she begins to reconsider her own domestic history. 320 pp. Author reading tour.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The past is a shadow Maidie Bonasso can't shake; both her prison and her refuge, it pursues her every time she makes a new start, through six states ranging from Arkansas to Arizona. The shadow harbors two ex-husbands, a mother who abandoned her, a pair of sisters she barely knows and a collection of former acquaintances who function as a Greek chorus in Maidie's head. We encounter Maidie as she flees Virginia and her second, abusive husband to become curator of an eclectic women's history museum in Tucson. Her new surroundings quickly produce a string of eccentric neighbors and friends: Z., the churlish but love-obsessed professor; Rona, the perennially nosy neighbor; August and Clima, the slightly daffy older couple who informally adopt her; and a new romantic interest, Rex, who may be the sensitive man she deserves. As Maidie engages in a wistful search for the people who "would finally be her life," however, her present functions as little more than a trigger to plunge her into the past. Short-story writer (A Wild, Cold State) and first-time novelist Monroe executes this flashback narrative device to generally good effect, but mentally peripatetic Maidie's inveterate habit of recalling past experiences also gives the story a schizophrenic quality. Yet the writing is intelligent and witty, and the book brims with deliciously wacky small-town, small-time types who prove quite entertaining. Maidie is finally compelled to confront the demons in her past when her motherwhom she hasn't heard from in 20 yearssummons her to a funeral. The novel's disjointed elements coalesce at the ensuing family reunion, where Monroe ably brings the story to a graceful dtente. (Feb.)
Library Journal
The story of Maidie Bonasso's life resembles a kaleidoscopethe imagery is hard-edged yet dazzling, and while the pictures change smoothly, the narrative never settles into one pattern. Maidie has a stockpile of memories saved from her constant moves, which leave behind estranged parents, remote sisters, and two ex-husbands. Currently working in Tucson as the curator of the Museum of Domestic History and Home Economy (which functions better as metaphor than as museum), Maidie begins to catalog her life: abandonmentby mother; neglectby first husband; verbal abuseby second husband; happinesswith boyfriendcurrent. But although Maidie thinks often about her past, it isn't until the last third of the novel that she confronts the fragments of her life and visits her family. Written by the Flannery O'Connor Award-winning author of The Source of Trouble (Univ. of Georgia, 1990), this book is a wry and honest look at the newfangled forms of family created by geographic dislocations and divorce. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/97.]Yvette Weller Olson, City Univ. Lib., Seattle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684819051
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
01/06/1998
Pages:
299
Product dimensions:
5.79(w) x 8.77(h) x 0.98(d)

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