A Theory of Small Earthquakes

Meredith Maran. Soft Skull (PGW, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-59376-430-2
In her debut novel, non-fiction author Maran (My Lie: A True Story of False Memory) charts the stilted journey of alluring and distant Alison Rose, as she struggles to make sense of her conflicting desires for comfort, love, normalcy, and motherhood. On the first day of her women's studies class at Oberlin College in 1983, Alison cannot take her eyes off of Zoe, a self-assured free spirit who bolsters Alison's confidence and falls in love with her. Alison and Zoe build a home and a life together in the Bay Area, until the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake puts a strain on their relationship. As she endeavors to make sense of her predicament, Alison signs her first contract with a prominent magazine and sleeps with her new editor, Mark. Alison leaves Zoe for Mark and the promise of a more normal life for herself and the child she subsequently bears. Three months after the birth, Alison, Mark, and Zoe come together with hard-to-believe ease to raise their son, Corey. Most compelling are the questions raised about biological, emotional and sexual ownership, as well as motherhood, gay rights, and feminism. This book succeeds at invoking a tangible sense of the depth and vastness of a mother's love for her child, and while the characters often seem two-dimensional, the challenges they face in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century are fully formed and strikingly familiar. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/20/2012
Release date: 01/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 353 pages - 978-1-59376-474-6
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