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The Shame: A Novel by [Makenna Goodman]

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The Shame: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 ratings

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Length: 153 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


“[A] swift and sensual debut . . . Goodman’s sentences pulse, they are alive, with the mess and ambivalence and artistic ambition and desire for more that saturates Alma’s mind as it asks, with fear: Is this all? Is this enough?”Boston Globe

“The Shame is a delicious, important moral corrective of a novel for our moment of performance, obsessive witnessing, and self-doubt, written in gripping and beautiful prose. Goodman draws a dark and suspenseful tale out of the feelings of envy women have for one another, fanned in this moment of high capitalism―a shame many of us know and feel, that reading this novel somehow helps disperse.”―Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood

“Goodman writes with blazing clarity and admirable wit about the joys and sorrows of raising children. Her depiction of the longing, self-loathing, and quiet rage that accompanies sidelined ambition is brilliantly complex.”―Jenny Offill, author of Weather

“The Shame is startlingly original. . . . Part of its pleasure is in the construction―the recursive loops through the mind of a woman who is breaking down from not making the art she absolutely must make. . . . More importantly, this is a novel about how you can feel driven to take risks that don’t matter in order to avoid taking the risks that do matter.”―Alexander Chee, Paris Review

“Goodman’s writing is lush and propulsive, creating a compact world like a fast-moving car in the night. . . . As in [Sheila] Heti’s work, here the material reality of Alma’s life is fodder for continual revelations about the traps of capitalism, motherhood, and meaning.”Guernica

"Unsettling, smart, perceptive . . . [The Shame] is about personhood, marriage, motherhood, rural life, instagram life. V v good." ―Emma Straub, author of All Adults Here, on Twitter

“This cutting, furious, funny novel stays with me. It follows a woman on the verge of a significant decision, and takes on so much―art, envy, animal tales and storytelling, market and money, dignity and doubt, motherhood.”―Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning, on Twitter

"The Shame is about what it means to build a life in a world increasingly governed by contradiction, striving to be both ethically and personally fulfilled. There are no easy answers to be found within these pages, but there is something heartening nonetheless about Goodman's brilliant embrace of the questions themselves." ―The Arkansas International

“The Shame is a wickedly smart, wry, raw interrogation of one mother’s choices. In sentences packed with wit and insight, Goodman’s entrancing debut explores the envy and self-doubt that come with selecting one sort of life over another. The reader shares the narrator’s desperate curiosity about how her madcap adventure will end.”―Helen Phillips, author of The Need

“The Shame allowed me to forget my life, forget my name, and when I looked up, and was in my life again, I looked at it through a refreshed, deeper, and more creative, more imaginative lens.”―Chloe Caldwell, Electric Literature

“Very funny and gutting.”―Lauren Groff, author of Florida, on Twitter

“A slender, one-long-afternoon-at-the-shore read.”―Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind, in New York Magazine

“Pastoral, precise and lyrical.”Seven Days

“I was entranced by The Shame. . . . You will enjoy it too!”―Emily Gould, author of Perfect Tunes, on Twitter

“A stay-at-home mother pulls up stakes and leaves her family in the middle of the night in this gripping, brief novel. Has Alma simply tired of the homesteading life, or is there something more to her decision to run? The Shame traces through this mystery with poise, leaving readers raw, nonetheless.”―Bustle, “August’s Most Anticipated Books”

“How to endure, how to escape, how to allow for a separate life within the mess of living the one you are in. These are the questions that make this not just a book about motherhood, but of relationships to people, the earth and the stranglehold of capitalism . . . A book for any woman that has ever felt captive in any aspect of life.”―Literary Hub, “Eight Books You Should Read This August”

"I'm generally a slow reader, but I devoured Makenna Goodman's incisive debut novel, The Shame, over the course of a couple days. In exquisitely composed sentences . . . The Shame illustrates the struggle of making art in the time of late capitalism and the isolation of at-home caregiving, among other themes. Goodman's book profoundly moved me." ―The Rumpus

“Alma’s reckless fantasy, of complete domestic abandonment, speaks volumes about the emotional and physical labor of homestead motherhood. Goodman's debut, an engrossing page-turner, is equal parts psychological case study and searing commentary of parenting and capitalism.”Booklist

“Goodman devastatingly charts Alma’s anxieties about being a good-enough mother, a good-enough spouse to take to cocktails and dinner with colleagues, a good-enough advocate of all the trendy issues, including climate change and gun control, public versus private schools, organic versus micronutrient-dense foods. The tension builds, pushing Alma to plan her escape, but her journey forces her to face reality outside the filters afforded by social media. An intimate, compelling portrait of a woman under psychological tension.”Kirkus

“Goodman riffs on middle-class motherhood angst in her probing debut. Those who feel like they’re losing themselves in the daily grind will appreciate Alma's escape fantasy.”―Publishers Weekly

"Everyone should pick up The Shame by Makenna Goodman. The language, wow, but also the searing truths." ―Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot, on Twitter

“A haunting, unsettling story of motherhood, marriage, capitalism, making a life (and a living), and the nature of relationships.”―Book Riot, “9 Great Books About Motherhood to Add to Your TBR Pile”

“The Shame is the brooding story of a mother torn between the realities of the isolated rural life she's made with her family and the fulfilling life she thought she’d have. . . . Readers will be able to see themselves in her flaws, her good intentions and the spaces in between.”―Shelf Awareness

"Goodman manages to create a character who is desperate, imaginative, and lost, evoking an image of motherhood that is Elena Ferrante-adjacent in its subtle rage and self-doubt . . . The Shame feels ultra-relevant in its interrogation of the contemporary female psyche and the pressures of marriage, motherhood, and career." ―News @ Wesleyan

“The Shame impresses one with its intelligence and artistry. What goes on inside a woman remains the new frontier.”―Susan Minot, author of Evening

“A scarifying portrayal of a particular female madness. Keep your eye on Makenna Goodman―a writer of original voice and genuine talent.”―April Smith, author of A Star for Mrs. Blake

“We begin as Alma, our narrator, flees her two young children, husband, and pastoral life in the Vermont countryside, heading for New York City. From there, Goodman’s daring first novel examines what led up to this moment, and how even an existence that many people of my generation believe is the ‘Ideal Life,’ of motherhood, of living off the land, of ethical consumption, a life of intention, is still not without its limitations. It’s necessary work, a novel that felt like a distant relative of the all-time great novel Revolutionary Road. The Shame is as exacting and defiant, and at times, as existentially gutting. I loved it.”―Adlai Yeomans, White Whale Bookstore

“The Shame is a unique and compelling story about ambition and motherhood, set within pastoral Vermont. It follows Alma, a wife and mother who lives an idyllic life raising chickens and making maple syrup. She spends her days caring for her two children and her nights attending faculty dinners with her professor husband, until she decides to leave it all behind. Goodman explores the pleasures and pitfalls of rural life and the complicated obligations of marriage and motherhood in this impressive and exciting debut.”―Ruby Smith, Three Lives Bookstore

“The Shame is a brilliant look at what it means to be a woman in the world right now. In captivating, witty prose, Goodman writes of the beauty and challenges of rural living, how motherhood and art sometimes collide, and of the insidious ways that technology can infiltrate a life. I adored this fierce, impressive debut!”―Shari Altman, Literary North

“Although the novel is slim, Goodman sustains a whipcrack of tension throughout until the unstoppable climax, which has a surreptitious feel to it, as if the author is testing the reader: come on, you’d do it too. Neatly written and gilded with stunning lines, The Shame is an unblushing proposal of what lies beneath the observer and the observed, the nuclear family, the tranquil smile of a housewife’s face as she slowly gives pieces of herself away every day. A contemporary fairy tale with a warning.”―Aimee Keeble, Main Street Books

“A novel about motherhood, marriage, and the shifting, elliptical nature of desire, The Shame considers the notion of escape in our modern age with exhilarating verve.”―Wesley Minter, Third Place Books

“In Goodman’s slim novel, the voice of Alma rings clear. She’s grappling with the insecurities faced when you find yourself taking stock of your life, seeing how you measure up, a pastime indulged in by many a woman, many a mother. She wants to be the type of woman who makes the best pie, or teaches creative lessons to her children on walks through the woods, and to that end, she strives. The flow of consciousness style lends itself to her unraveling and winding back up.”―Jenny Lyons, The Vermont Book Shop

“The blurbs from Sheila Heti, Jenny Offill, and Helen Phillips are perfect, because any fans of those writers will become a fan of Makenna Goodman after reading The Shame. Alma’s voice is clear [and] compelling, and the conflict between society’s expectations and her lived experience as a mother and wife will surely resonate.”―Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Makenna Goodman lives and works in Vermont. The Shame is her first novel. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • File size : 2624 KB
  • Publication date : August 11, 2020
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 153 pages
  • Publisher : Milkweed Editions (August 11, 2020)
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Page numbers source ISBN : 157131136X
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : B08BLNX4W7
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29 ratings

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