No Place, Louisiana by Martin Pousson

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"A remarkably sure-footed and rich first novel, admirable not only for the clarity of its voice and the fluidity of its style but for the coherence of its vision; its dramatic family saga, gradually unfolding in a deftly integrated Cajun universe, reveals the narrator to be a complex and acrobatic survivor. Pousson brings remarkable insight and literary power to the landscape of the American novel." (Lis Harris, author of Rules of Engagement)

Nita is sixteen, working in a diner, putting up with the coarse advances of her stepfather, and living on the edge of Jennings, Louisiana, when her brother sets her up on a blind date with Louis Toussaint. He is rude and cheap, Nita thinks, not exactly what she has in mind. But when he offers an engagement ring, Nita accepts what she believes is her ticket out of the place, the life she already feels is stifling her. She deserves better, and Louis can give it to her, if only he will work hard enough.

So begins a relentless cycle of expectation and disappointment that reaches its destructive zenith when two children are born and become the focus of Nita's fiercest hopes and most damaging desires. Her affection becomes a prison her son cannot escape, even as she denies her daughter. Soon Nita's incessant demands, seething prejudices, and unpredictable rage drive her family to the precipice, and over.

No Place, Louisiana is an unflinching vision of family relationships pushed to the breaking point, which Martin Pousson conveys with a rare empathy and understanding. Its exploration of themes deeply rooted in Southern fiction, and its ability to peer into the secret hearts of its misfit characters invite comparison to the works of Dorothy Allison and Carson McCullers.

About Martin Pousson

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Martin Pousson was born and raised in Acadiana in Louisiana bayou land. He teaches in the writing program at Rutgers University. This is his first novel.
Published March 1, 2002 by Riverhead Books. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for No Place, Louisiana

Publishers Weekly

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Pousson updates these situations with crisp technical adeptness by recounting his story both from Nita's perspective and from Louis's: the date, the wedding, the wedding night, the years that follow.

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Book Reporter

Martin Pousson thoroughly demonstrates in NO PLACE, LOUISIANA that, as with most things, it's a bit more complicated than that.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of No Place, Louisiana

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