The spectacular : a novel

by Whittall, Zoe,

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 4 copies
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Three generations of women strive for real freedom in this startling, provocative novel exploring sexuality, gender, and maternal ambivalence, from the acclaimed author of The Best Kind of People .

"Whittall addresses motherhood and autonomy in ways I've never seen done before. A fascinating stunner of a novel, The Spectacular is exactly that: spectacular!"--Kristen Arnett, author of With Teeth

It's 1997 and Missy is a cellist in an indie rock band on tour across America. At twentytwo years old, she gets on stage every night and plays the song about her absent mother that made the band famous. As the only girl in the band, she's determined to party just as hard as everyone else, loving and leaving a guy in every town. But then she meets a tomboy drummer who is hard to forget, and a forgotten flap of cocaine strands her at the border.

Fortysomething Carola is just surfacing from a sex scandal at the yoga center where she has been living when she sees her daughter, Missy, for the first time in ten years--on the cover of a music magazine.

Ruth is eighty-three and planning her return to the Turkish seaside village where she spent her childhood. But when her granddaughter, Missy, winds up crashing at her house, she decides it's time that the strong and stubborn women in her family find a way to understand one another again.

In this sharply observed novel, Zoe Whittall captures three very different women who each struggle to build an authentic life. Definitions of family, romance, gender, and love will radically change as they seek out lives that are nothing less than spectacular.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Missy Alamo's tour with her indie rock band, the Swearwolves, comes to an abrupt end when she's caught with a small amount of cocaine at the U.S.--Canadian border. While she's waiting for a flight home, she sees a newspaper story about a sex scandal at an ashram, accompanied by a photograph of her estranged mother, Carola. Sixteen years later, in 2013, Missy is trying to get pregnant before her fortieth birthday despite her misgivings about motherhood, but her marriage is ending. The divorce has Missy reconsidering her past and charting a course toward a future that will bring her happiness and comfort on her own terms. In this raw, thought-provoking study of the relationships between mothers and daughters, Whittall (The Best Kind of People, 2017) explores what it means to care for another person. The story is told in distinctive alternating voices, demonstrating how both Missy and Carola have chosen lives that defy what is expected of them. An interlude at the center of the novel tells the story of Missy's grandmother, Ruth. Readers will be immersed in the lives of all three women."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Whittall (The Best Kind of People) delivers a clear-eyed portrait of maternal ambivalence in her impressive latest. Missy Wood, 21, is on a mission to have her tubes tied. She's about to go on tour with her band, the Swearwolves, and doesn't want to worry about getting pregnant. Though two doctors say she'll regret the move and refuse to do it, her bandmate Billy had no trouble getting a vasectomy. ("I told him I was the lead singer in a band. He got it immediately. Isn't that sexist?") While Missy is held up in Vancouver by U.S. customs agents for carrying cocaine, she reads a magazine story about an ashram sex scandal that mentions her mother, who left Missy when she was 13 and whom Missy hasn't been able to locate. Whittall switches points of view between mother and daughter as their paths gradually converge, and adds an extensive and extraneous section from the point of view of Missy's paternal grandmother, Ruth, on Ruth's earlier life in Turkey. Whittall is excellent at writing the small, intimate details and sharp dialogue, as well as the mostly propulsive plot, while making no bones about opinions on gender inequities. Whittall is a great storyteller, and her latest does not disappoint. Agent: Samantha Haywood, Transatlantic Agency. (Sept.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Women -- Fiction.
Mothers and daughters -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :2021
Edition First U.S. edition.
Language English
Description 354 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781524799410
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