cover image Buy Me Love

Buy Me Love

Martha Cooley. Red Hen, $17.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-59709-120-6

Cooley (The Archivist) examines the unexpected aftermath of a lottery win in her sharp latest. Ellen Portinari is a 52-year-old freelance editor, aspiring poet, and happily single woman living in New York City. After forgetting she’d bought a lottery ticket, she learns she holds the winning $100 million ticket, and the potential windfall causes her to reassess her life. She thinks about her parents—a gin-soaked mother and a closeted, flamboyant star-baritone father—and gets back in touch with her genius-composer brother who is dealing with a nearly unbearable grief over the death of his girlfriend. Ellen knows the money will have a huge impact on her relationships with her family, and wonders how it will change her poetic aspirations and her romantic prospects. Meanwhile, recent art-school graduate Blair is “a boy in a girl’s body” who creates political public art to exorcise her demons and needs funding for her next project. Though unknown to one another, Ellen and Blair share an unspoken desire to connect through expression and, in a predictable twist, their coincidental meeting sparks a potentially life-changing act of creative destruction. While some of the developments come across as implausible, Cooley has a sure hand in probing the intersection of artistic ambition and money. This hopeful take is sure to move readers. (June)