cover image Motherlunge


Kirstin Scott. New Issues (SPD, dist.), $15 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-1-936970-11-7

According to writer Don Lee, who selected Scott as the winner of the 2011 Association of Writers & Writing Programs Prize, her book explores “the legacy of motherhood” and the “afflictions that may cycle through generations.” That’s true as far as it goes, but Lee’s a far better judge than blurber: Scott’s debut is about likable, uncertain Thea and her beautiful sister, Pavia, about having and not having a child and having and not having a mother. It’s about making decisions and not making decisions and the way these, plus luck, good and bad, become your life. And it’s about pleasure—ours, as we listen to Thea tell her unborn daughter about sex and love and sorrow, and what happened when she left her small Montana town to go to the big city and help out the pregnant Pavia. Finally, as we come to understand, it’s about the decision, as Thea puts it, to “not not know.” Funny and smart, and told in the first person, this is the kind of debut novel that’s often assumed to be autobiographical. Whether it is or isn’t, in Thea and those around her Scott has created characters we believe in and wish well, characters who feel real—strange and sad and happy, like real people are. (Jan.)