“Robison’s minimalism is more like a slap in the face: it’s short, it stings, and you wonder who in tarnation did that to you . . . One D.O.A., One on the Way has all the razored style and zigzag tone one expects, but also a new connection to a bigger world, in which all of our circumstances are as desperate and hilarious as her characters’ . . . Mary Robison’s work has always felt like a glorious amenity, but One D.O.A., One on the Way is a powerful necessity.” The New York Times
“Robison could work for a food or drug packager: she squeezes dire warnings into tiny spaces . . . [One D.O.A., One on the Way] can be read in half an afternoon, leaving plenty of room for afterthoughts about Robison’s funny and heartbreaking conversations.” The New Yorker
“Mary Robison is a woman of few words. But what powerful words they are . . . Pushcart Prize and O. Henry Award-winner Robison’s searing novella is rendered in edgy vignettes . . . Robison is a master at delivering dark scenarios with mordant wit. One D.O.A., One on the Way is an impressive addition to her ouvre, by turns horrifying, comic, shocking, and wise.” The San Diego Union-Tribune
“Robison’s spare, hilarious dialogue and collection of fragmented images, moments and excerpts call on readers to fill in blanks and to organize what looks at first glance like chaos glimpsed from a moving car . . . a vivid, witty ride.” Kirkus Reviews
“Robison eloquently reveals the dissolution of a family . . . The southern novel’s bread and butter are rich descriptions, thick as humidity and Spanish moss.” Booklist
“With a laconic voice and a despairing sense of humor, film location scout Eve Broussard narrates award-winning Robison’s grim yet witty novella about the dissoulution of a family and a city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina . . . Robison’s narrative is jumpy but effective, interspersed with and informed by startling statistics.” Publishers Weekly
The novel's see-sawing between laughter and despair captures the hysteria of the moment and the schizophrenia of the times, but also finds an undercurrent of optimism, buried deep but rising strong, that carries Eve and the reader forward…Mary Robison's work has always felt like a glorious amenity, but One D.O.A., One on the Way is a powerful necessity.
The New York Times
With a laconic voice and a despairing sense of humor, film location scout Eve Broussard narrates award-winning Robison's (Why Did I Ever) grim yet witty novella about the dissolution of a family and a city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Eve and unstable-but-armed Petal are married to 42-year-old twins, Adam and Saunders, who-not unlike the two black swans forever circling the statue commemorating their sister's suicide-spin their nearly identical lives aimlessly: drinking, fretting over hepatitis C and hording cocaine in their parents' stately New Orleans mansion. This family's Big Easy is a world where lush excess and harsh deprivation work side-by-side to create a malaise sinister in its paralyzing appeal. Told in terse, numbered passages, Robison's narrative is jumpy but effective, interspersed with and informed by startling statistics ("More than 50 former NOPD officers are in prison, 2 on death row"). Distilled episodes of mistaken identity, marriage trouble and potential infidelity build to a crucial decision for Eve, who may be damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Postmodern, post-Katrina picaresque from Robison (Tell Me, 2002, etc.). Eve works as a location scout, desperately trying to drum up film-industry work in a New Orleans still physically and economically ravaged by the hurricane. Deeply affected by the abject squalor and the scale of ruin, she sees these cruel absurdities from a position of privilege, having married into money. Her third husband, Adam, suffers from hepatitis C and has dysfunctional relatives, including his alcoholic twin, Saunders, his overbearing parents and a sister-in-law who pulls a gun on Saunders and is soon institutionalized. The clan's dark scandal concerns a daughter drowned in the family pond, now home to a spooky statue and two black swans. Like the post-Katrina landscape, the story is littered with found objects: interspersed news clippings on various subjects, including gun holsters; health-department, law-enforcement and FEMA statistics; personal and funny lists of missing items; Eve's notes to herself ("I'm through reading lengthy bits of scripture into the answering machines of my enemies"). Hindered by guilt and latent anger, Eve also boasts an inability to keep her mouth shut that comes close to scuttling her attempts to sell the city as a location to a detestable film producer. As she struggles with Adam's illness and her affair with his twin, she diverts herself with alcohol and pot, drives around New Orleans and environs dispensing witticisms to her film-biz protege Lucien. Robison's spare, hilarious dialogue and collection of fragmented images, moments and excerpts call on readers to fill in blanks and to organize what looks at first glance like chaos glimpsed from a moving car. The ending is a bit ofa cop-out, but a vivid, witty ride precedes it.