Synopses & Reviews
Calling to mind The Lovely Bones
, this original, electrifying debut explores the collision point of memory, family secrets, and forgiveness.
After witnessing a horrific accident, our unnamed thirty-seven-year-old narrator flees her hectic Manhattan life and buys a rambling, Victorian house in rural Virginia to recover in solitude. Yet in the uncomfortable quiet of her own company, she finds herself facing questions and obsessions from he Meanwhile, she watches her mother, Lois an eccentric, flamboyant woman who begins dating a series of men all named after saints grow increasingly unhinged, perhaps poised on the cusp of madness. And as a charming new neighbor slowly moves into her carefully guarded privacy, the narrator discovers the impossibility of hiding from r isolated childhood in 1970s suburbia and talking to the ghost of her dead sister Nancy. life's tangled, and often disturbing, realities.
Darkly funny, deeply imaginative, and fueled by unexpected, poetic prose, Salvage captures the challenge of finding a home that can withstand all that haunts us and the subtle and disastrous ways in which mothers and daughters lose and find one another, time and again.
"Kotapish offers in her unnerving debut a frustrating tale of a woman's struggle to keep her past from overtaking her present. The nameless narrator leads readers through the mazes of her memory, from a childhood spent talking to the ghost of her dead sister, Nancy, through her adult trauma of watching someone get run over by a subway car, and finally to Virginia, where she lives in a ramshackle house. Her cruel mother, Lois, whose sanity is also constantly called into question, becomes the axis on which the narrator's story spins in disjointed bits. The more the narrator reveals, the less reliable she becomes, calling into question whether Nancy is indeed the ghost of her dead sister or simply the personification of repressed grief and resentment. Within this aching knot of remembrance, Kotapish frequently lets her language and attention meander, stringing random thought together in unseemly pastiches that verbosely wind their way to dead ends. The novel has an overly indulgent feel, though some may appreciate the empowering ending." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"With a near stream-of-consciousness feel and a deliberately ambiguous (albeit hopeful) conclusion, Salvage may not be for every reader; for those willing to enter into the narrator's convoluted consciousness, however, it may just be a revelation." Bookreporter.com
"Kotapish mines her unusual premise for all its worth....[H]er ferocious sense of humor often unexpected and laugh-out-loud funny and her consistently clever turns of phrase mark her as a writer to watch." Booklist
"I named my dead sister Nancy and talked to her in the privacy of my closet for eleven years
Thus begins Salvage, an electrifying, utterly original debut that explores the collision point of memory, family allegiance, and forgiveness.
After witnessing a horrific, violent act, an unnamed thirty-something woman flees her hectic Manhattan life and buys a rambling house in rural Virginia to recover in peace. But in the quiet of her own company, wandering through her untamed garden by day and drinking before the fire by night, she finds herself facing unanswered questions from her isolated, suburban childhood. And when time spent with her eccentric motherwho is convinced that all her friends are Catholic saints in disguisethreatens to unhinge her altogether, she must decide which haunting memories from her past she should hang onto, and which she might be willing to throw away.
Darkly funny, deeply imaginative and fueled by unexpected, finely-distilled prose, Salvage illuminates the challenge of creating a home that can withstand all that haunts us, and the subtle and often disastrous ways in which mothers and daughters lose and find one another, time and again.
About the Author
Jane F. Kotapish, a native of Virginia, studied at the College of William and Mary and at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. She is a modern dancer and freelance writer based in Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband and daughter. Salvage is her first novel.