Title: The Mars Room
Author: Rachel Kushner
Rating : 4/5
Blurb (taken from Goodreads):
From twice National Book Award–nominated Rachel Kushner, whose Flamethrowers was called “the best, most brazen, most interesting book of the year” (Kathryn Schulz, New York magazine), comes a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America.
It’s 2003 and Romy Hall 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: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. 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, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision.
Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room demonstrates new levels of mastery and depth in Kushner’s work. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined. As James Wood said in The New Yorker, her fiction “succeeds because it is so full of vibrantly different stories and histories, all of them particular, all of them brilliantly alive.”
The new season of Orange is the New Black recently hit Netflix – The Mars Room gave me just enough to satisfy my female inmates story craving to tide me over until the release… and for all of you who are fans of the series and already binged through the season, you should pick up this book.
I think you can imagine the concept of this book by reading the summary. Therefore, I am going to write my review on the style of this book. I felt like it reads a little bit like slam poetry. It’s a book that you almost want to read out loud, because it sounds like music when you read it. The prose is therefore poetic, and it adds so much emotion and intensity to this story. It’s a book you want to read slowly to savour the stories within, and the emotional aura within the pages will make you tear up. I’d say this is a slow paced book, so if you’re looking for a quick story, I would skip it.
I have to admit that I found that it ended too abruptly. I understand that there’s only so much one can do with someone convicted of a life sentence, but I wish the final chapters had been followed up by a few more.
I’d like to thank Simon & Schuster Canada, as well as Netgalley, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would recommend this book.