[The Mars Room Books ] Free Read online as eBook BY Rachel Kushner

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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 35 stars I read an in depth article in New Yorker Magazine that made it apparent why Rachel Kushner can so vividly bring her characters in this book to life The link to the article is below She followed an inmate at a California prison because she wanted to have people in her life that the State of California rendered invisible to others She brings these real people to us through a cast of characters in her fictional account of life in prison This book definitely depicts experiences that are far removed from mine Not just in the prison but the world where the prisoners came from strip cubs doing and dealing drugs hit jobs getting beaten enduring abuse as children I found this stressful to read and it was definitely out of my comfort zone But that s not a bad thing as I learned It s vulgar at times brutal a lot of the time raw most of the time and I assume pretty realistic given the research that the author has doneWhile we come to know the stories of a number of characters this felt like it was mostly Romy Hall s story A single mother formerly a stripper at The Mars Room Romy has killed a man who stalked her is serving two consecutive life sentences plus 6 years There are other inmates whose stories we learn Fernandez Bette and Doc in the men s prison We come to know someone from the outside Gordon Hauser a prison teacher who gets involved in the lives of some of the inmates mailing letters buying them books flower seeds a paint set Gordon seems to reflect what Kushner wants us to see that these inmates are human beings It s about the flaws in our society the flaws in a justice system that won t allow someone to tell their side of the story the flaws in our penal system It is also about the flaws of inmates at a California prison whose fate on the one hand is a result of their choices However their circumstances their lives before incarceration make it difficult to be unsympathetic I received an advanced copy of this book from Scribner through NetGalley and Edelweiss

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The Mars Room

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 precisio The Mars Room pushed all the right buttons for me I liked Kushner s The Flamethrowers but this was something else altogether Here Kushner uses her talent to extraordinarily potent effect The story is set in the early 2000s focused primarily on Romy Hall who is in a women s prison for life for murder Kushner does a great job of showing the reality of Romy s life where she came from how she got to prison and her life in prison There is no sugar coating Romy s life is harsh and she is hard edged At the same time Kushner does a great job showing how smart resourceful and resilient Romy is But life has offered very few choices and plenty of traps to Romy Somehow I found the end heartbreaking but brilliant Besides Romy The Mars Room features a few other characters connected to Romy or life in prison Ultimately Kushner s book suggests that the path that gets women into prison is often laden with poverty addiction and abuse But her message is delivered without polemic or simplistic solutions By a strange coincidence today I tuned into Writers and Company which featured an interview with Kushner She describes the research she did about women in prison before writing The Mars Room If anything the interview added to my enthusiasm for the book A lot of thought empathy and research went into this oneHighly recommendedThanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy

Rachel Kushner × 6 characters

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 Orange is the New Bleh


10 thoughts on “The Mars Room

  1. says:

    2 12 stars It's taken me a long time to admit that I just didn't like The Mars Room very much Even as I was struggling to keep my eyes on the page keep reading and not get distracted by that piece of fluff on the floor I was doing my best to write a positive review in my headI thought I would love it It felt like I should

  2. says:

    35 stars I read an in depth article in New Yorker Magazine that made it apparent why Rachel Kushner can so vividly bring her characters in this book to life The link to the article is below She followed an inmate at a California prison because she wanted to have people in her life “that the State of California rendered invisible

  3. says:

    If I had never worked at The Mars Room If I had never met Creep Kennedy If Creep Kennedy had not decided to stalk

  4. says:

    Library Overdrive Audiobookread by Rachel Kushner I didn’t even consider this book when it first popped up “Telex From Cuba” was a little

  5. says:

    When a friend asked me whether I liked the book I was reading I told her “It’s refreshing A novel about women in prison” I was dead serious It was only after my friend was losing it laughing so hard that I realized how weird my comment was Laughing now too I tried to defend myself I just get tired of straight old life; there’s so much “regular” out there Can I help it if I like to read about down and outers The truth is the d

  6. says:

    Orange is the New Bleh

  7. says:

    I'm one to admit when I just do not get the hype on a book This is one that I just did not jump on the train with

  8. says:

    The Mars Room is a provocative raveworthy exploration of choices or indeed the absence of any perceived choice for adolescent and teen female criminals on the lower echelon of the socio economic scale who grow up sexually

  9. says:

    The Mars Room pushed all the right buttons for me I liked Kushner’s The Flamethrowers but this was something else altogether Here Kushner uses her talent to extraordinarily potent effect The story is set in the early 2000s focused primarily on Romy Hall who is in a women’s prison for life for murder Kushner does a great job of showing the reality of Romy’s life — where she came from how she got to prison and her

  10. says:

    At first this seems like a monumental achievement; a masterful storyteller giving voice to the incarcerated Difficult characters come to life in unexpected ways They're complex flawed a little evil and a lot good