Rose Reason

Rose Reason

by Mary Flanagan

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this uneven confessional novel, narrator Frances Mullen traces her life story from her Catholic girlhood in a Maine mill town to her bohemian existence in 1960s Manhattan to the English boarding house where she now works as a maid. After her mother's death, Frances is sent by her adored, ineffectual father to live with her aunt, a religious spinster. Upon her confirmation she takes the name Rose, hoping to take on a new identity, ``a magic garment to cover my sorrow.'' But in her efforts to transform herself she cannot overcome her persistent sense of abandonment, and as she grows older Rose continually pursues men who--like her father--will disappoint and leave her. Flanagan ( Trust ) powerfully evokes Rose's pinched life with the repressive Aunt Bernie, but the novel's second half unravels into strained and diffused emotions. Roland Miles, the sinister Englishman who eventually stirs the violence smoldering beneath Rose's passivity, is less a man than a metaphor for elusive love. Like too much of this novel, he is a symbol in search of significance. (Sept.)
Alice Joyce
In Frances Mullen, who chooses to be known as Rose, Flanagan creates a fascinating and memorable character. When her mother dies and father remarries, Rose is raised by an aunt in a stifling mill-town environment. After a clandestine love affair, she flees family expectations and arrives in New York to search for Travis--the first secretive, illusive lover to favor her with a sublime run-around. When still another entanglement leads to an eccentric London boarding house, her relationship with Miles embraces emotional chaos, extending to a destructive "last act," and the final obsession. For readers of this author's third novel, the reward is found in writing that perfectly captures the periods and places featured: from the Irish Catholic mores and working-class milieu of 1950s America to dead-on portrayals of 1960s Greenwich Village. This is an important writer worthy of close scrutiny in the years to come.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Edition description:
1st ed

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