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The Mars Room

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 Ro... read full description below.

Available for pre-order internationally. Ships upon its international release date of 7 May 2019.

Quick Reference

ISBN 9781476756585
Barcode 9781476756585
Release Date 7 May 2019 by Scribner Book Company
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Alternate Format(s) View All (7 other possible title(s) available)
Author(s) By Kushner, Rachel
Availability Available for pre-order, ships once internationally released 7 May 2019

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9781476756585
ISBN-10 1476756589
Stock Release date is 7 May 2019
Status Available for pre-order, ships once internationally released 7 May 2019
Publisher Scribner Book Company
Imprint Scribner Book Company
Release Date 7 May 2019
Publication Country
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Author(s) By Kushner, Rachel
Category Modern Fiction
Crime & Mystery Fiction
Number of Pages 352
Dimensions Width: 133mm
Height: 203mm
Spine: 28mm
Weight Not specified - defaults to 600g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
Library of Congress California, Women prisoners, Prison violence, Correctional personnel, Correctional institutions - California
NBS Text General & Literary Fiction
ONIX Text General/trade
Dewey Code 813.6
Catalogue Code Not specified

Description of this Book

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).

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review Phosphorescently vivid. --Megan O'Grady, T Magazine Potent...an incendiary examination of flawed justice and the stacked deck of a system that entraps women who were born into poverty...The Mars Room is more than a novel; it's an investigation, an exercise in empathy, an eyes-wide-open work of art. --Kelly Luce, Oprah [Kushner is] an exceptionally talented and philosophically minded writer. --Jessica Zack, The San Francisco Chronicle The book is beautifully written, without sentimentality or agenda, and at times even [with] a sly and dark humor. --Holly Silva, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Rachel Kushner cements her place as the most vital and interesting American novelist working today...The Mars Room makes most other contemporary fiction seem timid and predictable. --Michael Lindgren, The Millions Kushner's got the talent to justify the hype...The Mars Room builds to a redemption that comes from hard truth, sharp and broken and shaped by an author of exceptional power and grace. --Jeff Baker, The Seattle Times [An] electrifying take on the chaos of 1980s San Francisco. --Sloane Crosely, Vanity Fair An enormously ambitious project profoundly rooted in a particular time and place... Kushner's greatest achievement in this unique work of brilliance and rigor is to urge us all to take responsibility for the unconscionable state of the world in which we operate blithely every single day. --Jennifer Croft, The Los Angeles Review of Books [Kushner's] best book yet, another big step forward. --Jonathan Franzen, The Guardian Absorbing... here's what stands out most about the novel and what makes it unique. Like her first two books, National Book Award finalists Telex From Cuba and The Flamethrowers, The Mars Room is impeccably researched without ever seeming dry or preachy... insightful...authoritative...haunting. -- Alexis Burling, San Francisco Chronicle Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers was one of the best books of 2013 and its predecessor, Telex from Cuba, earned the Los Angeles-based writer her first National Book Award nomination. Unlike Kushner's first two books, The Mars Room is set in 21st-century America, at a women's prison where Romy Hall is serving two life sentences. Kushner's writing is clipped and sharp, as she tells the story of Hall's adjustment to life behind bars -- and how she got there. --The Week Kushner is back with another stunner...without a shred of sentimentality, Kushner makes us see these characters as humans who are survivors, getting through life the only way they are able given their circumstances. --Library Journal Much of the action of Rachel Kushner's brilliant new novel is set in California prisons...But the moral scope of The Mars Room is really too large for it to be considered a prison novel. Through its vividly rendered characters, it asks the reader to ponder bigger questions--Dostoyevskian questions--about the system of justice, the possibility of redemption and even the industrialization of the natural landscape...Kushner is both tough and darkly funny in writing about her characters' situations, and she writes not so much for us to empathize with them, but rather to understand them. The Mars Room is a captivating and beautiful novel. --BookPage This essential novel is about women ignored or denigrated or discounted in our society, and the adult men who obsess over them and abuse them and abet their self-destruction. Kushner is a bit of a magician, exploring bleak territory with pathos and urgency that makes it nearly impossible to stop reading. --AM New York Kushner's great gift is for the evocation of a scene, a time and place. --Harper's Unflinching. --Elle A probing portrait of contemporary America. --Entertainment Weekly Stunning...Heartbreaking and wholly original. --Bustle A revelatory novel about women on the margins of society...it's a true feat of Kushner's extraordinary writing that such profound ugliness can result in such tumultuous beauty. --Maris Kreizman, Vulture Gorgeous...The Mars Room sings. --Sasha Frere-Jones, Bookforum [Rachel Kushner is] one of the most gifted novelists of her generation--on the same tier as Jennifer Egan and the two Jonathans, Franzen and Lethem...[The Mars Room is] a page turner... blackly comic...Part of Kushner's achievement here is that she makes this character, for all her shortcomings, so appealing...It's one of those books that enrage you even as they break your heart, and in its passion for social justice you can finally discern a connection between all three of Kushner's novels...In The Mars Room, the neglected become the focus, and it's apparent that Kushner's imagination, almost Dickensian in its amplitude, also embraces some of Dicken's reformist zeal...so powerful and realistic you come away convinced that all...escapes are illusory, and that even for those who get out, prison is still a life sentence. --Charles McGrath, The New York Times Book Review (Cover Review) Brilliant and devastating...Kushner does a masterful job evoking the isolation and hopelessness intrinsic to a life behind bars...Kushner's greatest accomplishment in The Mars Room is the character of Romy...The other characters are all perfectly rendered as well...Kushner doesn't make a false move in her third novel; she writes with an intelligence and a ferocity that sets her apart from most others in her cohort. She's a remarkably original and compassionate author, and The Mars Room is a heartbreaking, true and nearly flawless novel. --Michael Schaub, NPR.org [A] stunning new book... Kushner deploys the masterful storytelling she's known for...an unmistakable voice. --Town and Country Reading The Mars Room is a profoundly affecting experience, very nearly overwhelming, and yet it absolutely must be read. Kushner's first two novels (Telex from Cuba, The Flamethrowers) were National Book Award finalists. It would be baffling if The Mars Room does not win this year's. --Cory Oldweiler, amNewYork Stunning... a gorgeously written depiction of survival and the absurd and violent facets of life in prison. --Buzzfeed Kushner's writing and thinking are always invigorating, urgent, and painterly precise. --Vulture Kushner is a masterful world-creator, and her accomplishment here is unparalleled. --Nylon A searing, tragic look at life in the prison-industrial complex, covering poverty, sex work, mass incarceration, education, trauma, suffering, love, and redemption. Somehow, Kushner's rapid-fire, imaginative prose makes it seems effortless. --Vogue [A] tough, prismatic and quite gripping novel...wholly authentic...profound...surprisingly luminous. --Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal Kushner is a woman with the chops, ambition and killer instinct to rub shoulders with all those big, swinging male egos who routinely get worshipped as geniuses. --John Powers, Fresh Air The Mars Room affirms Rachel Kushner as one of our best novelists...her stories slink in the margins, but they have the feel of something iconic. --Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly Like Denis Johnson in 'Jesus' Son, ' Kushner is on the lookout for bent moments of comic grace...The Mars Room is a major novel. --Dwight Garner, The New York Times

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Author's Bio

Rachel Kushner is the bestselling author of The Flamethrowers, a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times Top Ten Book of 2013; Telex from Cuba, a finalist for the National Book Award; and The Mars Room. She lives in Los Angeles.

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