The Madam by Julianna Baggott
A Novel

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Synopsis

West Virginia, 1924: Alma works in a hosiery mill where the percussive roar of machinery has far too long muffled the engine that is her heart. When Alma's husband decides that they should set out to find their fortune in Florida, Alma has little choice but to leave her three children and ailing mother behind. But when Alma is then abandoned at a Miami dock, she is suddenly forced to make her own way in the world. With the help of a gentle giantess and an opium-addicted prostitute, Alma reclaims her children from the orphanage and forges ahead with an altogether new sort of family. As an act of survival, she chooses to run a house of prostitution, a harvest that relies on lust and weakness in men, of which "the world has a generous, unending supply."
The Madam is the story of a house of sin. It is here where Alma's children will learn everything there is to know about "love and loss, sex and betrayal." Based on the real life of the author's grandmother, The Madam is a tale of epic proportions, one that will haunt readers long after its stunning conclusion.
 

About Julianna Baggott

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JULIANNA BAGGOTT is the author of sixteen books--published and forthcoming--including national bestseller Girl Talk and Which Brings Me to You (co-written with Steve Almond); three books of poems, and seven novels for young readers, most notably The Anybodies trilogy, under the pen name N.E. Bode. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Best American Poetry 2000, 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Everyday (ed. Billy Collins), The Southern Review, TriQuarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry, Glamour, Ms. Magazine, and read on NPR's Talk of the Nation.
 
Published May 8, 2010 by Atria Books. 316 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Together with an opium-addicted former prostitute named Delphine, the women devise a plan to make money: Alma will open a whorehouse, Delphine will preside as "queen" and Roxy will keep the men in line.

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Austin Chronicle

She makes an opium high sound like something to be feared and strived for all at once: "She held her breath and imagined an imbricate skin of ice, the catfish cruising the river bottom, their whiskers thick as piano wire, and how it would be to die, let the water take you in, as the ice above her...

Dec 26 2003 | Read Full Review of The Madam : A Novel

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