Books by Susanna Moore

THE LIFE OF OBJECTS by Susanna Moore
Released: Sept. 18, 2012

"Moore's subject is rectitude. Even when the subject matter is graphically horrendous, the narration remains as reserved and understated as the Metzenburgs, who prefer not to reveal how deeply they feel, how willingly they sacrifice, how daringly they risk."
Moore (The Big Girls, 2007, etc.) focuses a narrow flashlight on World War II, specifically the daily struggles of an aristocratic couple that remains in Germany despite abhorring the Third Reich. Read full book review >
LIGHT YEARS by Susanna Moore
Released: March 1, 2008

"Well written and passionate, though frequently frustrating."
A literary journey through memory to childhood in 1950s Hawaii. Read full book review >
THE BIG GIRLS by Susanna Moore
Released: May 7, 2007

"Compelling, although nothing quite jells into clarity."
It's difficult to separate the problems of the prisoners from those of their keepers in this unrelentingly dark multilayered prison drama from Moore (One Last Look, 2003, etc.), told from the point of view of three women and one man. Read full book review >
ONE LAST LOOK by Susanna Moore
Released: Oct. 6, 2003

"When describing her life in India as an 'endless disorderly feast,' Eleanor might well be describing One Last Look: rich, lush, scattered, repetitive, and wonderfully satisfying."
Moore's (In the Cut, 1995, etc.) fictionalized journal, based on actual published diaries, of life among the Raj in the 1830s and '40s depicts the convoluted relationship of the British to their Indian subjects. Read full book review >
IN THE CUT by Susanna Moore
Released: Nov. 7, 1995

Moore's latest ought to come with a warning label for unwary fans of Sleeping Beauties (1993) and her earlier works. There's nothing beautiful about this one, and you won't be doing much sleeping once you've sampled its nasty fare of mutilation, decapitation, and coldhearted sex. The narrator is a woman who lives in New York City, near Washington Square, and teaches creative writing to college freshmen. Her name may be Frannyone character calls her that twicebut it's never quite acknowledged or made clear. One night, in a bar, this teacher opens the wrong door, searching for a bathroom, and witnesses a red-haired woman's technique: the way she moves her head ``with a dipping motion,'' the noise her mouth makes; the man's black socks, his unshined shoes, the tattoo of a playing card on his wrist. The only thing she manages not to see is the man's face, which turns out to be a fateful omission when the red-haired woman is found murdered (well, not just murderednobody in this book is simply murderedshe's ``disarticulated,'' or pulled apart, joint by joint). The teacher is unwillingly caught up now in a drama that involves a serial killer, more gruesome death and dismemberment, and plenty of sex along the way, in every position, clinically detailed, with handcuffs or without. Where all this leads to is a horrific ending involving razors, torture, and the lingering smell of blood. In Moore's previous work, a good, dark undercurrent of sex and violence played well against the lush Hawaiian settings and family stories. Here, there's nothing to offset the darknessnot one real and likable character, never one moment of redemption. In the end, repugnant. That's what a warning label might tell you. (First printing of 100,000; author tour) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

Once upon a time, a young girl, fleeing her wicked stepmother, runs away to live with her mysterious aunt and her blind grandmother and grows up to marry a handsome movie star. But, title notwithstanding, this is not part of any simple fairy tale—it's Moore's third novel, another lush and haunting Hawaiian lament. Clio Lynott, like Moore's earlier heroines—Lily in My Old Sweetheart (1982) and Mamie in The Whiteness of Bones (1989)—is a child cut adrift from her parents and deeply attuned to the mythology and exotic landscape of her homeland. In Clio's case, this affinity for all things Hawaiian is encouraged by her aunt Emma Fitzroy, who teaches her ``the long songs without rhyme called meles, the hulas and oral genealogies; the very history of her passing race.'' It is the weight of all this history that eventually causes Clio to escape into a loveless marriage with Tommy Haywood, a small-minded, big-time Hollywood star. For a while, Clio deceives herself, believing in happily ever after, but soon it becomes clear that not all Prince Charmings are created equal. Ultimately, though, it is Hawaii and all its history—her own history—that draws the aptly named Clio back home to stay with Emma and Mabel, her blind and ancient grandmother. As a heroine, Clio is sometimes a trifle wan, but her story is always vivid. Moore's writing, as ever, almost glows with tropical heat. The Hawaii we see here is enchanting, dangerous, and at the brink of being lost forever. Moore locates it permanently for us- -just midway between fever dream and fairy tale. (First printing of 35,000) Read full book review >

Moore's writing, every bit as compelling here as it was in My Old Sweetheart (1982), is even more sure-footed this time around, and so evocative you can almost feel the warm Hawaiian mud between your toes. Mamie Clark, at age 12, lives in the rarefied world of a sugar plantation in Waimea, Hawaii. She and her younger sister, Claire, spend their days in the heady scent of ginger flowers and on the edge of danger. They know how to catch water rides through the island's old irrigation ditches and how to pick leeches casually off their arms and legs to feed to Claire's pet mongoose. Mamie's mother, Mary, is devoted to gardening and vague about mothering. She's from Oklahoma, and Mamie understands that, somehow, her mother is not caught up in the spell of Waimea the way Mamie's father, McCully, is. McCully runs the plantation and holds family life together. When Mamie is troubled, it is her father she turns to—and her mother she yearns for. Then tragedy strikes the plantation in the form of a tidal wave, and life begins to fall apart. Mamie and Claire go off to boarding school and eventually end up on the island of Manhattan, under the jaded eye of their mother's sister, Alysse. Claire quickly learns to navigate through the murky waters of 80's high-life, complete with kinky sex and plenty of drugs. But Mamie drifts, watchful and apart, haunted by memories of Hawaii, until a new love gives her the confidence—and a shocking experience gives her the impetus—to go back and deal with the ghosts of home. Mamie is just right as a heroine—intelligent and passionate and completely trustworthy. Moore makes her story as real and mysterious as any island legend, as powerful as the scent of the white ginger flowers. A dazzler. Read full book review >