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Ultraviolet: A Novel Hardcover – September 4, 2018
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"This unostentatious yet intricate novel follows the women of a family across nearly a century . . . Domestic scenes emit blasts of emotional life, as the women grapple with the 'swooning collapse and then the expanding distance' between their interior lives and the outside world." —The New Yorker
“This gorgeous novel examines the complexities of the mother–daughter relationship.”— Real Simple
"This sprawling, beautiful novel follows the lives of three generations of women. . . It's an emotional, poignant look at the ways in which our dreams for ourselves often fall apart, and how even lives that seem quietly lived are filled with profound meaning." —Kristin Iversen, NYLON
“Explores the lives of several generations of one family across America and overseas—and in doing so ventures to unexpected emotional states.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“Fascinating and stirring . . . . Matson glides through her characters’ lives in almost self–contained chapters punctuated by explosions of burnished emotion . . . . Readers will latch onto the unforgettable characters of this accomplished saga of the shifting personal and historical complications of American womanhood.”—Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)
“Fans of Anne Tyler and Geraldine Brooks will enjoy the intertwined, intergenerational narratives, historical details, and emotional depth of this engrossing novel.”—Booklist
“Matson's chapters, each of which jumps forward in time, conclude with an especially poignant reflection on aging, as Samantha cares for her dying mother in her final days. This is a stoic view of mother–daughter love: an unsentimental reflection on both the tribulations and the importance of filial connection.”—Kirkus
“From its wonderful opening in 1930s India, Suzanne Matson's beautifully accurate and illuminating Ultraviolet follows the fates of three generations of American women, along the shifting borders of safety and freedom. As time carries them past risks and refuges, the reader is left with a shimmering sense of lives lived.”—Joan Silber, author of Improvement
“Capacious, unsentimental and yet forgiving, Ultraviolet brings us both the intimacy of women's lives and their trajectories across continents and generations. This is Suzanne Matson at her wisest and deepest—wonderful.”—Gish Jen, author of The Girl at the Baggage Claim
“Acutely, elegantly, Suzanne Matson traces her characters' paths from the hills of colonial India to the suburban American west to the dislocated excesses of an Alaska cruise ship. Here are the women in a family and the impact they have—or fail to have—on one another. And here, in the silences between vivid moments, we see how years pass, how lives pass, how a century passes.”—Joan Wickersham, author of The News from Spain and The Suicide Index
"A beautiful, passionate, utterly absorbing novel."—Margot Livesey, author of Mercury
Praise for The Tree-Sitter (2006)
“Through the lens of first love, Suzanne Matson raises questions of morality and responsibility, of idealism and identity. . . . It’s rare for fiction to push its protagonist and its readers to such moral dilemmas, but Matson is unflinching.” ―Ann Hood, author of Morningstar
“The Tree-Sitter is one of those rare, elegantly written, quietly intense books that, without resorting to sensationalism or fanfare, winds up keeping you awake at night.” ―Suzanne Berne, author of The Dogs of Littlefield
“With its vivid characters, suspenseful plot, and moral complexity, this is a wonderful and very timely novel.” ―Margot Livesey, author of Mercury
“At once luminous and dark, The Tree-Sitter asks age-old questions in a brand-new world. This is Suzanne Matson’s most gripping, resonant, and timely book to date.” ―Elizabeth Graver, author of The End of the Point
“A confounding but compelling romance with impeccable timing.” ―Los Angeles Times
Praise for A Trick of Nature (2000)
“A compelling, unpredictable narrative that moves beyond its calm suburban setting into darker social and psychological territory. Suzanne Matson’s gripping second novel only confirms what readers of The Hunger Moon already know: she is a writer of uncommon wisdom and emotional depth.” ―Tom Perrotta, author of Mrs. Fletcher
“Like Ann Hood and Sue Miller, Suzanne Matson captures average people reevaluating their once comfortable domesticity as middle age slowly approaches. In delivering the Goodmans’ stumbling marriage, A Trick of Nature plumbs the attractions and terrors of giving up the familiar for an uncertain freedom.” ―Stewart O’Nan, author of City of Secrets
“A compassionate psychological portrait of one family’s slow unraveling―A Trick of Nature skillfully charts the often unpredictable aftershocks of tragedy.” ―A. Manette Ansay, author of Good Things I Wish You
“So skillfully does Matson describe the calm before the marital storm that it’s possible to be lulled right along with them into their own blind harmony.” ―Boston Book Review
Praise for The Hunger Moon (1997)
“In this fast-moving, elegantly crafted novel, Suzanne Matson traces the arch and swoop of women moving through each other’s lives.” ―Pagan Kennedy, author of Inventology
“Matson has given us a poet’s-eye view―not just the behaviors but the emotional map as well.” ―Harvard Review
“A lovely, engaging first novel about the intersections between three women at very different points in their lives, each looking both inward and outward to find her place in the world.” ―Melanie Thernstrom, author of The Pain Chronicles
“Crisp, clean writing. . . . Compassionately drawn characters. . . . Matson examines the full sweep of women’s lives.” ―The New York Times Book Review
- Publisher : Catapult (September 4, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1936787954
- ISBN-13 : 978-1936787951
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.3 x 0.87 x 9.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,491,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Matson intimately creates a sweep of the last hundred years through the lives of three generations of women in their times. The voice through which the stories are told is perfect for the content. It is kindly with various levels of seriousness, generous dispassion, and always appropriate to the content. The research that produced the detailed, but never boring, paragraphs must have been immense. Matson chooses appropriate details with such care that instead of overwhelming the reader they draw you into the story. I, who regularly skim pages, skimmed only one paragraph and then I went back and read it. The story, from India to the West and then the East Coast, was so engulfing that I found myself mentally sliding back and forth-- identifying with the grandmother, the mother, and then the daughter. I didn't skip anything, although the content of the book fascinated and sometimes disturbed me. The book drew me in and shook me up and I came out of it with a slightly different view of my own life. She has created a place to stand and a voice to tell a story with understanding and sweet distance. I was captivated from the first paragraph.
How can you get a better first sentence than this: "On the fifteenth day, her mother's breathing comes in little fish gasps, mouth ajar."
Simply stunning writing, which occasionally forces you to chuckle out loud, like during an Alaskan cruise, "Their guide, Jeannie, reports on the 5:1 single men to single woman ratio in Alaska: 'The odds are good but the goods are odd.'"
The end of the book is, at the same time, heart-wrenching and heartwarming. It is absolutely stupendous. Could not recommend this book enough.
And so many gripping details--Kathryn with her eczema being treated with ultraviolet light, which will affect her body as much as anything in her life. Again and again, Matson’s prose vignettes hold us in their grip. What will happen next in the unexpected turns our daily lives make? There’s little Kathryn trying to cross a busy LA intersection and making it, there’s the silent Sikh driving a mother and child through Kashmir’s unfamiliar streets and country roads. There’s a little boy begging his mother, angry with her husband, to please, please get back in the car while a northwest blizzard howls through the night. There’s an older man who keeps mostly to himself who has had two common-law wives of whom a young wife would rather know nothing about. There’s Kay’s daughter, Samantha, discovering two photos of her father as a young man in the company of one of those women, someone never mentioned by the family. There’s divorce, loneliness, the purple light breaking through in India, the purple light breaking through in a Boston hospital, alpha and omega. The memories, the memories colluding and breaking up in the light of day, both visible and invisible.
This is a novel by a gifted writer not just for women, but for any man who gives a damn about women, and who would learn something from them, something to be read and pondered over for the reader’s own good.