Survivor

Survivor

4.5 2
by Tabitha King
     
 

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Kissy Mellors, an extraordinary photographer is at the wheel of her Blazer when a shattering accident sparks a slow-burning, ultimately explosive drama of desire and decision. It is night. She is driving back to her apartment through the campus of a Maine college. A yellow T-bird zooms past her and hits two female pedestrians. One life is ended. One life is suspended… See more details below

Overview

Kissy Mellors, an extraordinary photographer is at the wheel of her Blazer when a shattering accident sparks a slow-burning, ultimately explosive drama of desire and decision. It is night. She is driving back to her apartment through the campus of a Maine college. A yellow T-bird zooms past her and hits two female pedestrians. One life is ended. One life is suspended in coma. And Kissy's life is changed forever. After the accident, three men enter Kissy's life. One is James Houston, the drunken premed student responsible for the fatal collision. On is Mike Burke, the policeman who arrived at the scene moments later. And one is Junior Clootie, a college hockey star being groomed for the pros, with whom Kissy begins an intensely sexual affair while still shaken by the aftershock of the nightmare experience.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Departing from her usual literary territory of Nodd's Ridge, King (The Book of Reuben) moves onto a Maine campus to pit a strong yet vulnerable woman against her own demons as she struggles to extricate herself from a poisonous marriage. Talented photographer Kristin "Kissy" Mellors, 21, is poised to escape her hometown of Peltry, where she is finishing college, when a tragic accident freezes her in her tracks. Spotting two college girls in her headlights one night, Kissy slams on the breaks only to watch helplessly as the car behind her plows on and mows down the girls, killing one and leaving the other severely brain damaged. Traumatized, Kissy is compelled to photograph the comatose girl over and over. She finds herself inextricably bound to three men as well: Junior Clootie, a local hockey star who was the lover of the girl who died; James Houston, a wealthy premed student who was the drunk driver responsible for the accident; and Mike Burke, the first officer on the scene. Pregnant, Kissy marries Clootie (although Houston could be the father); but when his boozing and womanizing escalate into abusive behavior, she bails out, falling into a marriage with Burke. Rising from cop to assistant DA, the alcoholic Burke never loses his infatuation for Kissy, but theirs is a brutal, lifeless marriage. In a tough and gritty conclusion involving a breathtaking chase, Kissy starts making the right decisions after years of wrong choices, confronting Burke and regaining her own soul. King has created a compelling heroine in Kissy. Faltering yet determined to be brave, she captivates the reader just as a speeding car captivates the driver who desperately wants to get it under control. (Feb.)
Library Journal
In this compelling psychological drama, we are drawn into the world of Kissy Mellors. She is the driver who stopped in time to avoid killing two young women-but the drunk who passed her did not. One woman dies, and the other goes into a coma that lasts for years. Kissy's life is changed forever by this event and by the relationships she forms because of it-with the comatose victim and her family, with the dead girl's boyfriend (a hockey player Kissy later marries), with the investigating officer, even with the drunk driver. Kissy is free-spirited, foul-mouthed, and talented and understands little of her own motivations. King gives us a much greater understanding of the minds and emotions of the men who love Kissy; we almost sympathize with the man who obsesses about her to the point of violence. This is as good as anything King has done previously and belongs in most fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/96.]-Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
Kirkus Reviews
From King (The Book of Reuben, 1994, etc), a departure from her familiar fictional environs (the small town of Nodd's Ridge), but a work sharing with her earlier books a decidedly unquaint view of domestic life in Maine.

Kristin Mellors (a.k.a. "Kissy Melons," for an obvious physical attribute) starts out the novel by almost killing two fellow students at Sowerwine College. Her car doesn't hit them, but soon after a vehicle driven by a drunk premed student does. One girl dies, the other falls into a coma. Kissy's relationship with the girl in a coma, Ruth Prashker, will haunt her for the rest of the story, as will her involvement with the drunk driver. An aspiring photographer, Kissy is a member of the college's black-clad artsy set, so it's a surprise when she takes up with the star of the school hockey team, Junior Clootie. But if sex is any indication (and it is the principal indication of practically everything here), the two are made for each other. Clootie is bound for the pros, but Kissy's future is less clear. Will she establish her independence from her past, or will the survivors of the accident she witnessed continue to dog her existence? Clootie truly loves her, but he's basically an amiable screw-up. Some ill-advised whoring lands both him and Kissy with the clap and sets a pattern: Clootie will always be trouble, and Kissy will always have trouble staying away. A bizarre tryst with the drunk driver/premed student leaves Kissy pregnant, and she marries Clootie, giving birth to a baby girl. Their marriage goes almost immediately to pieces, though, thanks largely to Clootie's indiscretions and nomadic lifestyle. The author's decision to tack on a conventional thriller ending is questionable, but it scarcely dilutes the impact of this rough-and-tumble, exceedingly realistic, and metaphorically resonant lurch through damaged lives.

A novel of great insight and empathy, filled with believable, troubled, complex characters.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525942412
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
02/01/1997
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.38(h) x 1.37(d)

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