Martha and Nina are under-employed, over-educated slackers who are wasting their twenty-something lives while serving drinks at a dive bar in Cleveland. Martha's escapes are smoking too much, drinking, and reading classic literature. Nina's distractions come in the form of married men. In a shared moment of self-realization, they quit their jobs and set out on a road trip.
Their journey in time takes a literary turn that blurs fantasy and reality. Nina's destiny is guided by Cervantes' Don Quixote while Martha, with less grandiose aspirations, finds herself in the footsteps of Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse.
A Body at Rest was a competition semi-finalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)|
|Age Range:||16 Years|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Terrific story and well written!
Imagine two twenty-something over-educated cocktail waitresses, bored with their lives, embark on a road trip of discovery, end up in an Iowa cornfield, get tattoos, and begin transforming into their favorite fictional characters - Don Quixote and Emma Woodhouse. Whoa! The title A Body at Rest appears to be a total play on words. Martha and her roommate Nina return home to Cleveland, Ohio from their self actualizing sojourn to Iowa with new tattoos, no jobs, and odd things happening to them. Martha is speaking with an English accent, has a desire to wear a Regency frock and bloomers that mysterious appeared in her bedroom, and Nina is growing inches a day, sprouting a beard, and something else much more distressing that is definitely male. When Martha had secretly wished for something magical to happen to her to change her life, she never imagined that becoming a fictional character would be the answer. Neither did Nina! Besides the physical transformation that Martha and Nina are experiencing, they are starting to think and talk like the characters which further complicates interaction. When Martha becomes concerned for Nina's declining health, she takes her to a clinic to be evaluated by doctors who are baffled by her symptoms and complaints ordering tests at the local hospital. Once there, she can no longer control her Don Quixote impulses; her affected speech, uncontrolled outbursts and growing appendage becomes unexplained 'complications' that the hospital staff resolves by placing her in the psych ward. Martha defends her friend against over zealous medical staff and is arrested and banned from the hospital. Now she needs others to help get her out, and calls in the big guns - her mother and Nina's father, explaining the whole unbelievable story to them. They finally suceed in 'breaking' her out of the hospital, but Martha and Nina have had enough. They just want their own identities back and the logical solution is to go back where it all started, the tattoo parlor in Iowa. Author Susan Petrone has taken a quirky paranormal concept, laced it with literary allusions and created an imaginative story with a surprising ending. This high concept novel was an ambitious undertaking for a first time novelist who obviously enjoys titling at windmills. Martha and Nina's transformation into Emma Woodhouse and Don Quixote was gradually complete right down to its fateful fictional conclusion. Even though we did not see as many personality foibles that make Jane Austen's Miss Woodhouse so endearingly flawed as I would have wished, nor was Don Quixote quite so delusional, the plot line parallels to Emma and Don Quixote were very fun to discover. Unfortunately, at times I felt disconnected to the story and wondered where it was all going, craving more laughter to help it along. I tried to stay open to the possibility of her two fictional characters becoming fictional characters and interacting in the real world, but their full potential was never reached to my satisfaction. In the end I can recommend it to readers who enjoy contemporary fantasy, but would forewarn Janeites that this is definitely not your mothers Emma Woodhouse, only a milder version of her. Laurel Ann, Austenprose
The book jacket announces : Martha and Nina are underemployed, overeducated slackers who are wasting their twenty-something lives while serving drinks at a dive bar in Cleveland. Martha's escapes are smoking too much, drinking, and reading classic literature. Nina's distractions come in the form of married men. In a shared moment of self-realization, they quit their jobs and set out on a road trip. As a forty-eight year old slightly conservative southern male, that doesn't really sound like something I'd be interested in. It goes on to say : Their journey in time takes a literary turn that blurs fantasy and reality. Nina's destiny is guided by Cervantes' Don Quixote while Martha, with less grandiose aspirations, finds herself in the footsteps of Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse. Okay, I think to myself, the characters are a radical liberal - joisting at windmills - and a self absorbed girlie-girl. A bit of an odd couple, could be fun, but still not something I'd like. I'm really not into chick-lit, even if I do write romance. I like things a little more edgy, thought provoking, even dark. So why did I buy the book? And why should you, dear reader? Because the book is not being compared to those two classic works, it is their literary equal. A Body at Rest is one of the best examples of Literary Fiction I have read in years. What did I say before? a little more edgy, thought provoking, even dark? A Body at Rest is all that and more. Ms. Petrone took me on the ride of my middle-aged life. I couldn't put it down. I was so absorbed by these two young women, and their trip into a literary Twilight Zone, that I had to keep turning pages until I ran out of pages to turn. I was shocked, dismayed, enraptured, overjoyed, and saddened along the way as I pulled for these two amazing heroines. The writing itself shows the author's true mastery of the literary arts - the light, subtle, even feminine, air of the narrative gently wielding the stark power of the story. Ms. Petrone made me laugh, and indeed she made me cry - not a small feat. I heartily recommend A Body at Rest to anyone who loves literature, no matter what your favorite genre may be. On a ten point scale, I'm giving this one a twelve. Well done Susan. I'm definitely a fan now.