After a ten-year silence, Mary Robison has emerged with a novel so beguiling and funny, it has brought her live reading audiences to their feet. Why Did I Ever? takes us along on the darkest of private journeys. The story, told by a narrator named Money Breton, is submitted like a furious and persuasive diary-a tale as fierce and taut as its fictional teller.
Forces are bearing down on Money. Three husbands have left her. I.R.S. agents are whamming on her door. Her grown children are in trouble. And her beloved cat has gone missing. She's back and forth between Melanie, her secluded Southern town, and L.A., where she has a weakening grasp on her job as a script doctor. Having been sacked by most of the studios and convinced that her dealings with Hollywood have fractured her personality and rendered her a multiple, Money talks to herself nonstop, telling her mirrored reflection, "That face needs cheekbones," telling her hands, "Quit shaking, people can see," telling herself finally, "Shut up! I don't care what you think!" She glues and hammers and paints every item in her place. She addresses her former husbands, asking them "You did what kind of work?" She forges loving inscriptions in all her books. She drives in circles all over the South. She occupies herself any way that works. Through it all, there is Mev, her darling puzzling daughter who lives close by but seems ever beyond reach, and Paulie, her son, the damaged victim of a violent crime under police protection in New York. Now, while both her children seem to be losing all their battles, Money tries for ways and reasons to keep battling.
Why Did I Ever? is a book of piercing intellect and belligerent humor. It is certain to have a profound impact, not only on Robison's devoted following but on the shape of the contemporary novel itself.
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