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Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room

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<b><i>TIME</i>'S #1 FICTION TITLE OF THE YEAR - <i>NEW YORK TIMES</i> NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018</b> <p></p> <b>FINALIST for the MAN BOOKER PRIZE and </b>t <b>he NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD</b> <p></p> <b>LONGLISTED for the ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL</b> <p></p> <b>An instant <i>New York Times </i>bestseller from two-time National Book Award finalist Rachel Kushner, <i>The Mars Room</i> earned tweets from Margaret Atwood--&quot;gritty, empathic, finely rendered, no sugar toppings, and a lot of punches, none of them pulled&quot;--and from Stephen King--&quot;<i>The Mars Room</i> is the real deal, jarring, horrible, compassionate, funny.&quot;</b> <p></p>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. <p></p> Stunning and unsentimental, <i>The Mars Room</i> is &quot;wholly authentic...profound...luminous&quot; ( <i>The Wall Street Journal</i>), <b> </b> &quot;one of those books that enrage you even as they break your heart&quot; ( <i>The New York Times Book Review, </i>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 &quot;affirms Rachel Kushner as one of our best novelists&quot; ( <i>Entertainment Weekly</i>).

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TIME'S #1 FICTION TITLE OF THE YEAR - NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018

FINALIST for the MAN BOOKER PRIZE and t he NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD

LONGLISTED for the ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL

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).TIME’S #1 FICTION TITLE OF THE YEAR • NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018

FINALIST for the MAN BOOKER PRIZE and t he NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD

LONGLISTED for the ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL

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).

Specifications

Publisher
Simon & Schuster Audio
Book Format
Audiobook
Original Languages
English
Author
Rachel Kushner
ISBN-13
9781508244370
Publication Date
05/01/2018
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
5.88 x 5.00 x 1.00 Inches
ISBN-10
1508244375

Customer Reviews

Average Rating:(3.9)out of 5 stars
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Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
The Mars Room is the s...
The Mars Room is the second book I've read on the Man Booker award shortlist. I had read Kushner's first book The Flamethrowers and hated it. I don't think I finished it. This one however is very well-written. It's about a woman, Romy, a past stripper and drug addict who is serving 2 life sentences for murdering her stalker (no spoiler, this is told in the first chapter). She is devastated by the fact she will never see her son again. Along with Romy's story, multiple chapters also tell vignettes about the other characters, ie the teacher at the prison, a corrupt police officer in the men's prison, some of her prison mates and at the end her stalker. It also has multiple excerpts from Ted Kosinki's journal. The writing is so well-done. The characters have deep introspections about life, nature, society but it always flows with the story. Note: there's a good amount of violence and very little hope in this one. Not a pick-me-up at all! If you watched Orange is the New Black you can handle it.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
The Mars Room, Rachel ...
The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner, author and narrator Although the author does a good job of reading the book, the subject matter could not hold my interest. The main character was a lap dancer. She is now being transferred to a new prison. She is serving two concurrent life sentences for murder. She describes her trip and some of her past. The story is bleak and dark. It is populated with characters who are miscreants and don't seem to want to reform. Rather, some like the world inside better than the world at large. The language the author uses is crude. Her characters are unlikeable. I got through about 1/3 of the book and finally just gave up. Simply put, the book depressed me. It may interest those who like stories about lawlessness, dysfunction and despair. It isn't my cup of tea. I didn't want to keep reading, hoping to find a redeeming feature. Sorry, but it was just too much of a downer for me
Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
The Mars Room is the s...
The Mars Room is the second book I've read on the Man Booker award shortlist. I had read Kushner's first book The Flamethrowers and hated it. I don't think I finished it. This one however is very well-written. It's about a woman, Romy, a past stripper and drug addict who is serving 2 life sentences for murdering her stalker (no spoiler, this is told in the first chapter). She is devastated by the fact she will never see her son again. Along with Romy's story, multiple chapters also tell vignettes about the other characters, ie the teacher at the prison, a corrupt police officer in the men's prison, some of her prison mates and at the end her stalker. It also has multiple excerpts from Ted Kosinki's journal. The writing is so well-done. The characters have deep introspections about life, nature, society but it always flows with the story. Note: there's a good amount of violence and very little hope in this one. Not a pick-me-up at all! If you watched Orange is the New Black you can handle it.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
The Mars Room, Rachel ...
The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner, author and narrator Although the author does a good job of reading the book, the subject matter could not hold my interest. The main character was a lap dancer. She is now being transferred to a new prison. She is serving two concurrent life sentences for murder. She describes her trip and some of her past. The story is bleak and dark. It is populated with characters who are miscreants and don't seem to want to reform. Rather, some like the world inside better than the world at large. The language the author uses is crude. Her characters are unlikeable. I got through about 1/3 of the book and finally just gave up. Simply put, the book depressed me. It may interest those who like stories about lawlessness, dysfunction and despair. It isn't my cup of tea. I didn't want to keep reading, hoping to find a redeeming feature. Sorry, but it was just too much of a downer for me
The Mars Room is the second book I've read on the Man Booker award shortlist. I had read Kushner's first book The Flamethrowers and hated it. I don't think I finished it. This one however is very well-written. It's about a woman, Romy, a past stripper and drug addict who is serving 2 life sentences for murdering her stalker (no spoiler, this is told in the first chapter). She is devastated by the fact she will never see her son again. Along with Romy's story, multiple chapters also tell vignettes about the other characters, ie the teacher at the prison, a corrupt police officer in the men's prison, some of her prison mates and at the end her stalker. It also has multiple excerpts from Ted Kosinki's journal. The writing is so well-done. The characters have deep introspections about life, nature, society but it always flows with the story. Note: there's a good amount of violence and very little hope in this one. Not a pick-me-up at all! If you watched Orange is the New Black you can handle it.
The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner, author and narrator Although the author does a good job of reading the book, the subject matter could not hold my interest. The main character was a lap dancer. She is now being transferred to a new prison. She is serving two concurrent life sentences for murder. She describes her trip and some of her past. The story is bleak and dark. It is populated with characters who are miscreants and don't seem to want to reform. Rather, some like the world inside better than the world at large. The language the author uses is crude. Her characters are unlikeable. I got through about 1/3 of the book and finally just gave up. Simply put, the book depressed me. It may interest those who like stories about lawlessness, dysfunction and despair. It isn't my cup of tea. I didn't want to keep reading, hoping to find a redeeming feature. Sorry, but it was just too much of a downer for me

Frequent mentions

1-5 of 24 reviews
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

The Mars Room is the s...

The Mars Room is the second book I've read on the Man Booker award shortlist. I had read Kushner's first book The Flamethrowers and hated it. I don't think I finished it. This one however is very well-written. It's about a woman, Romy, a past stripper and drug addict who is serving 2 life sentences for murdering her stalker (no spoiler, this is told in the first chapter). She is devastated by the fact she will never see her son again. Along with Romy's story, multiple chapters also tell vignettes about the other characters, ie the teacher at the prison, a corrupt police officer in the men's prison, some of her prison mates and at the end her stalker. It also has multiple excerpts from Ted Kosinki's journal. The writing is so well-done. The characters have deep introspections about life, nature, society but it always flows with the story. Note: there's a good amount of violence and very little hope in this one. Not a pick-me-up at all! If you watched Orange is the New Black you can handle it.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Its hard to live on ...

"It's hard to live on the streets. In prison, you can be someone. Life has order if you know how to do time, and I know. I'm an expert. Living in a tent is a temporary thing. You do it until you go back to prison. That's just how it works."  It is 2003, Romy Hall is serving 2 consecutive life sentences, at Stanville Women's Correctional Facility, in California. This story follows, her daily prison life, with impressive detail, it also looks back at her life, before the conviction, working at a strip club called The Mars Room, and glimpses at what led to her crime, which involves a particularly creepy, stalker. The author really seems to have done her research here, diving deep, into the dark, psychological, complexities, of these convicted women, without the usual stereotypical tropes. The writing is deft, and uniformly strong. This was my first novel, by Kushner, and reviews, seems to be mixed, but I was very impressed with it, throughout and look forward to reading more of her work.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

The Mars RoomBy Rachel...

The Mars RoomBy Rachel Kushner2018Simon & SchusterFantabulous!!Rachel Kushners masterful style and memorable characters capture the environment and lifestyles within the Stan- ville Womens Correctional Facility in California's Central Valley so precisely and exactly, it's easy to forget this is a work of fiction.Romy Hall, the main character is full and complicated. The relationships between prisoners and guards, prisoners and other prisoners, and prisoners with their own selves and personalities, make a statement without being overtly political. Kushner shows us the disparity and abuses of the prison system through the lives and interactions of her characters.Rachel Kushner is a master...one of my favorite authors because of her intelligent mastery of ideas and ideals, and her work is always insightful and compelling.Mesmerizing. A MUST READ!! Fantabulous.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Summary: Following the...

Summary: Following the stream-of-consciousness of a few different characters, this is mostly the story of Romy Hall, who is serving two consecutive life sentences in the California State prison system. Kushner's story slips back and forth between the now and the past, so the reader slowly learns about how Ms. Hall ended up where she did. It is a gritty, realistic book that gives a fairly accurate view (as I've heard from prison inmates) of what women's prison is like. My Thoughts: I started listening to this right after it made the Booker Prize shortlist. Although I understand perfectly why it made the shortlist (the writing style is superb), I wasn't overly impressed with the story. Don't get me wrong...I had emotional investment in Ms. Hall, and felt the other characters were realistic and well-written. And I think Kushner achieved exactly what she set out to do: flawlessly executing the stream-of-consciousness style. I was just in the mood for a story with more plot. But this book wasn't about plot. It was a book about character and setting. And the characters and setting were superbly written. So I will still give the book 4 stars, even though it wasn't what I was in the mood for.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading the ...

I enjoyed reading the different perspectives, Tony's and Gordon's. The diaries of Ted Kaczynski were a nice edition. I am intrigued by women going to prison, so many of them not deserving to be there. In the age of Orange is the New Black hopefully women who deserve to be free will be released. For people who want to read more books like this, especially nonfiction I recommend Out of Orange, Orange is the New Black, & Inside This Place, Not of It. Looking forward to reading more of Kushner's books.


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