The Mars Room
An instant New York Times bestseller from two-time National Book Award finalist Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room earned tweets from Margaret Atwood--"gritty, empathic, finely rendered, no sugar toppings, and a lot of punches, none of them pulled"--and from Stephen King--"The Mars Room is the real deal, jarring, horrible, compassionate, funny."
It's 2003 and Romy Hall, named after a German actress, is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women's Correctional Facility, deep in California's Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: her young son, Jackson, and the San Francisco of her youth. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, portrayed with great humor and precision.
Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room is "wholly authentic...profound...luminous" (The Wall Street Journal), "one of those books that enrage you even as they break your heart" (The New York Times Book Review, cover review)--a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined and "affirms Rachel Kushner as one of our best novelists" (Entertainment Weekly).
"The Mars Room is mysterious and irreducible. The writing is beautiful -- from hard precision to lyrical imagery, with a flawless feel for when to soar and when to pull back." * Dana Spiotta * "The Mars Room is uniquely informed ... empathetic. An addictive novel, laced throughout with bracing intelligence." * Joshua Ferris * "It's her best book yet, another big step forward. " * Jonathan Franzen *
Rachel Kushner's debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller. Her follow-up novel, The Flamethrowers, was also a finalist for the National Book Award and received rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's and the Paris Review. She lives in Los Angeles.