The Roxy Letters

Mary Pauline Lowry. Simon & Schuster, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-9821-2143-3
In Lowry’s fizzy epistolary novel (after Wildfire), an aspiring artist tries to thwart gentrification in her Austin, Tex., neighborhood, with madcap results. Roxy, a 28-year-old vegan, never thought she’d be working at a Whole Foods deli counter. Her housemate and ex-boyfriend, Everett, rarely pays rent on time; her dog’s vet bills are through the roof; and the tweakers next door seem bent on making her life miserable. When she notices that a shiny athleisure shop has replaced her favorite video store, she vows to “tackle” the place “to the motherfucking ground.” Lowry’s choice to write the novel as letters to Everett has the destabilizing effect of making Roxy’s new friends seem imaginary, like the fabulously quirky Artemis Starla, who seems to Roxy to have been reading her mail after they trade barbs against consumerism. In the letters, Roxy documents her crusade (a hand-painted protest sign reads “NO $100 TIGHTS, WE WANT OUR RIGHTS”) and its frequent side trips, divulging accounts of shockingly bad sex (no matter how many offerings she makes to the goddess Venus) and a hilariously humiliating experience at an orgasm convention. While bighearted Roxy manages to land on her feet, her misadventures are often so absurdly cartoonish that the few sobering moments have less impact. Fans of screwball comedies that don’t delve too deep should be pleased. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/15/2020
Release date: 04/07/2020
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0126-2
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