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Queen of the Underworld

by

Queen of the Underworld Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Here at last is the eagerly awaited new novel from New York Times bestselling author Gail Godwin. Queen of the Underworld is sweeping and sultry literary fiction, featuring a memorable young heroine and engaging characters whose intimate dramas interconnect with hers.

In the summer of 1959, as Castro clamps down on Cuba and its first wave of exiles flees to the States to wait out what they hope to be his short-lived reign, Emma Gant, fresh out of college, begins her career as a reporter. Her fierce ambition and belief in herself are set against the stories swirling around her, both at the newspaper office and in her downtown Miami hotel, which is filling up with refugees.

Emma's avid curiosity about life thrives amid the tropical charms and intrigues of Miami. While toiling at the news desk, she plans the fictional stories she will write in her spare time. She spends her nights getting to know the Cuban families in her hotel — and rendezvousing with her married lover, Paul Nightingale, owner of a private Miami Beach club.

As Emma experiences the historical events enveloping the city, she trains her perceptive eye on the people surrounding her: a newfound Cuban friend who joins the covert anti-Castro training brigade, a gambling racketeer who poses a grave threat to Paul, and a former madam, still in her twenties, who becomes both Emma's obsession and her alter ego. Emma's life, like a complicated dance that keeps sweeping her off her balance, is suddenly filled with divided loyalties, shady dealings, romantic and professional setbacks, and, throughout, her adamant determination to avoid usurpation by others and remain the protagonist of her own quest.

Review:

"Though our protagonist's Southern accent varies in thickness from one chapter to another, Zimbalist generally gives a professional reading of this scantily clad autobiographical novel set in 1950s Miami. Recent college grad Emma Gant escapes her nasty stepfather and follows her married lover to Miami, where she begins work on the Miami Star. Here we encounter a host of eccentrics: the miserable Queen of the Underworld (a serially suicidal one-time madam) the married boyfriend and his wife; a Jewish Mafioso;, a personalized perfume scent entrepreneur; and Cuban exiles exporting munitions as 'dental equipment.' Zimbalist handles Spanish well, distinguishing between the anti-Castro Cubans and Emma's own awkward attempts at the language. But there are so many oddball characters that we are sometimes aware of her straining to give each a distinctive voice and flavor. Despite her efforts, the plot is too rambling and the characters too disparate to finally gel into a novel. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 10, 2005). (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"If we're finally done beating up on memoirists who fictionalize their lives too much, let's start complaining about novelists who don't fictionalize theirs enough. Gail Godwin, a three-time National Book Award nominee, has portrayed plenty of lives besides her own, but this winter, with the publication of the first volume of her journals, 'The Making of a Writer: 1961-63,' also comes 'Queen of the... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"It takes courage for an author to lay bare the grandiosity and recklessness of her young self, even from a remove of so many years...early on, Godwin told a friend that if she could have one wish, it would be 'to get it all down.' In Queen of the Underworld, she has lightly cloaked a few days in fantasy." New York Times

Review:

"Here is the irresistibly readable Godwin voice, tender and sardonic, warmly romantic and unflinchingly funny." Joyce Carol Oates

Review:

"Gail Godwin's excellent new novel seems to me to be a muted tragedy about a soul inside the body of a modern woman navigating through the terra incognita of modern times." Kurt Vonnegut

Review:

"Here is a wonderfully engaging story that explores the growth of a young woman beginning her career as a journalist. The inner workings of Emma' s life are gracefully presented and marvelously mingled with the workings of the outer world; the combination provides a universe in which the reader is glad to reside." Elizabeth Strout

Review:

"Godwin writes great dialogue. She can give you a complete person in a single speech or reel off chatty conversations that go on for pages." Seattle Times

Review:

"[A] good read with the bonus of an enlightening slice of history." San Antonio Express-News

About the Author

Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award nominee and the bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345483195
Author:
Godwin, Gail
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Miami (fla.)
Subject:
Journalists
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20070131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.02x5.28x.80 in. .59 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Queen of the Underworld Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345483195 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Though our protagonist's Southern accent varies in thickness from one chapter to another, Zimbalist generally gives a professional reading of this scantily clad autobiographical novel set in 1950s Miami. Recent college grad Emma Gant escapes her nasty stepfather and follows her married lover to Miami, where she begins work on the Miami Star. Here we encounter a host of eccentrics: the miserable Queen of the Underworld (a serially suicidal one-time madam) the married boyfriend and his wife; a Jewish Mafioso;, a personalized perfume scent entrepreneur; and Cuban exiles exporting munitions as 'dental equipment.' Zimbalist handles Spanish well, distinguishing between the anti-Castro Cubans and Emma's own awkward attempts at the language. But there are so many oddball characters that we are sometimes aware of her straining to give each a distinctive voice and flavor. Despite her efforts, the plot is too rambling and the characters too disparate to finally gel into a novel. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 10, 2005). (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "It takes courage for an author to lay bare the grandiosity and recklessness of her young self, even from a remove of so many years...early on, Godwin told a friend that if she could have one wish, it would be 'to get it all down.' In Queen of the Underworld, she has lightly cloaked a few days in fantasy."
"Review" by , "Here is the irresistibly readable Godwin voice, tender and sardonic, warmly romantic and unflinchingly funny."
"Review" by , "Gail Godwin's excellent new novel seems to me to be a muted tragedy about a soul inside the body of a modern woman navigating through the terra incognita of modern times."
"Review" by , "Here is a wonderfully engaging story that explores the growth of a young woman beginning her career as a journalist. The inner workings of Emma' s life are gracefully presented and marvelously mingled with the workings of the outer world; the combination provides a universe in which the reader is glad to reside."
"Review" by , "Godwin writes great dialogue. She can give you a complete person in a single speech or reel off chatty conversations that go on for pages."
"Review" by , "[A] good read with the bonus of an enlightening slice of history."
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