The Mars Room

The Mars Room

Book - 2018
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"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."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Scribner, 2018
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781476756554
1476756554
Branch Call Number: FICTION Kushner, Rachel
Characteristics: 338 pages ; 24 cm

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b
BWilsoned
Apr 05, 2019

Too depressing to finish.

d
doeringjo128
Mar 24, 2019

I wanted to like this book but just couldn’t connect with the character or story. There were useless characters as well within the storyline which I found frustrating.

n
nalahblueberry5
Mar 13, 2019

I liked her style

k
kimmegirl
Feb 11, 2019

Couldn't get into this book after reading to page 80. Kind of disappointing since it was so highly rated.

x
xiaojunbpl12
Jan 18, 2019

She portrayed the lives, so intense for me (not a masochist) to experience, behind bars and in one’s mind, which would be otherwise beyond my imagination farther away than Mars.
All the characters, including ones with short appearances and three straight males, composed a somber collage full of dark
humor. Each has its own right to live in the book, without dazzling the vision.
I had a minor problem with the order of narrations (mostly monologues of Romy). A convenient vehicle to tell the story? To a less interested reader, the structure may be felt impulsive and disjointed.
The book touched many subjects of the society and environment we live in, never geared up to analyze. I’m deeply drawn to author (Romy)’s perception of (old / another side of) San Francisco and “man-made hell”.
Amor Fati!

b
bairdbrain
Jan 13, 2019

Novel about women in prison doesn't seem written as much as born, or witnessed. Unapologetic, frank, utterly believable and compelling, Kushner goes beyond empathy or flashiness to just show you. Memorable.

g
Gigi76
Nov 28, 2018

Woah!

DPL_Graham Nov 02, 2018

One of the many dangers of working as a stripper at “The Mars Room” in San Francisco is stalkers. You never know who might find you fascinating, feeding you crisp $20s until suddenly $20s aren’t enough and obsession turns into and watching every moment of life. Riding the bus or getting groceries, the man on the motorcycle is watching.

“The Mars Room” is tale of Romy Hall’s life growing up rough in the Bay Area, working “The Mars Room” and her life in an all-Women’s prison sentenced to life for murder. Tough, mean, sad, touching, and thrilling in turn, the Mars Room lifts you into a seedy world of prison politics. You may feel familiar with the atmosphere if you’ve spent any time watching “Orange is the New Black.” Still, this isn’t a rip-off of the show or book, just a revisiting of familiar subject matter. The characters are vivid, guards horrid, living conditions squalid, and the drive to make sense of existing inside the joint pointed and ever elusive.

Rachel Kushner has written an entertaining and easy to read novel that is free of pretension. While you may feel familiar with the subject matter it is always entertaining and fresh.

*The Mars Room is on the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Longlist

j
January1545
Oct 11, 2018

Bleak. Grim. Dark. Choose your adjective, or go to the thesaurus for more. This is not a cheerful book, but I found it worth reading for a couple of reasons. One, the writing is brilliant, and two, the author takes us into a world few of us will ever know -- that of a women's prison in California. Follow her at your peril!

f
firefly5
Oct 05, 2018

I read the first chapter, started on the second and just did not like this book.

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d
dashing2
Oct 01, 2018

That life does not go off the rails because it is the rails,goes where it goes.

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