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Spark: a novel Paperback – January 29, 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Courtney Elizabeth Mauk received an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University and has published in The Literary Review, PANK, Wigleaf, and Superstition Review, among others. She is an assistant editor at Barrelhouse Magazine and teaches at The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Manhattan with her husband.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Engine Books (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938126041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938126048
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,509,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Myfanwy Collins on September 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
I picked up Courtney Elizabeth Mauk's debut novel SPARK in the early evening, expecting to read a few pages and did not put it down again until I had finished it three+ hours later. It's a glorious, fast-paced read, filled with beautiful language, tightly-written scenes, and unforgettable characters.

For all of her life, Andrea has known one thing for sure: she was born to save her brother's life. As such, she is the ultimate codependent, who only really comes to life when her brother is nearby so that she might save him. In fact, it seems as though she has been in a chrysalis all the years he has been away from her and it is not until he comes back into her life that her carefully wound, seemingly happy life, begins to unfurl. And then it begins to unwind and unwind it does.

At first, Andrea seems tentative about having her recovering pyromaniac brother to come and live with her and her boyfriend, and yet she prepares the apartment as one would do for a new infant; nesting and getting rid of anything that might cause him harm. Once he moves in, she takes things even farther, pushing away her boyfriend so that he might not do the harm she perceives him and his work capable of.

Essentially, she becomes her brother's mother and following in her own mother's footsteps; she is codependent, a helicopter parent. She does not and cannot exist without her brother and his disease.

She also cannot live without his fire. Even though he has spent the past 20 years reforming himself, she doesn't believe that he is truly healed and when the papers start reporting suspicious fires around the city, she convinces herself it is him. Even when she can find no proof in his room or on his person, she believes he is guilty.
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I recommend this book if you like well written novels with great characters. Like me, you won't want it to end. The author involves us in the lives of the characters to the extent that it is very difficult to put down. I didn't even want to stop reading it when it ended. The scenes described by the author are alive and the relationships between the characters are intense as well as deep. This book will make an ideal movie. Read it.
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By Poppa D on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Courtney Mauk's SPARK is an excellent read. I read it in a day and enjoyed it immensely. I didn't want it to end.

It is filled with characters that come alive with her writing. You can actually imagine the personalities and nuances of the various characters. Andrea, the main character and 1st person narrative comes alive on the pages. Sally, the Russian, is mysterious and you can imagine her accent as she speaks through the written word. Her brother and her Mother are interesting and in Courtney's taut writing style come across as real, although troubled people.

I truly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys books and are interested in new authors.
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Spark has a clever premise: a pyromaniac getting released from jail and moving in with his sister in Brooklyn. I'm pretty sure the word pyromaniac is only used once in the novel, which shows you that the real focus of the piece is on the characters, their situations, and the fallout for all of them. It also includes great descriptions of Brooklyn, and the more underground aspects of New York City. A great, and original read.
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