The Mars Room
February 28, 2019 5:49 AM - by Rachel Kushner - Subscribe

It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision.
posted by tofu_crouton (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kushner's writing is beautiful, so mostly I just wanted more. More of the prison scenes, more of cabin life, more of Romy's narration, more details about the wild life of the death row prisoner whose name I forget. Instead, I'm not really sure where this book went, except where was expected, to give us some social realism that I'm already doused in because it's 2019 where realism has a new meaning and also I binge-watched Orange is the New Black.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:51 AM on February 28, 2019

As I read and was disappointed by The Flamethrowers, Kushner strikes me as not necessarily the greatest choice for this material...
posted by praemunire at 11:19 AM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

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