Books by Suzanne Matson

Suzanne Matson is the author of The Hunger Moon and A Trick of Nature. She teaches at Boston College and lives in Newton, Massachusetts.


ULTRAVIOLET by Suzanne Matson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 4, 2018

"This is a stoic view of mother-daughter love: an unsentimental reflection on both the tribulations and the importance of filial connection."
Three generations of women seek to forge independent identities while struggling to understand their roles in this book about mothers and daughters, marriage, education, and risk. Read full book review >
THE TREE-SITTER by Suzanne Matson
Released: Feb. 20, 2006

"The provocative issues raised sometimes get lost in the predictability of the romance and ho-hum characters."
Poet and novelist Matson (A Trick of Nature, 2000, etc.) explores the boundaries between activism and terrorism through the eyes of a privileged college student in the throes of first love. Read full book review >
A TRICK OF NATURE by Suzanne Matson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 2000

"Despite the lightning at its center, a novel that throws off few sparks."
Matson (The Hunger Moon, 1997) covers the familiar territory of suburban marital angst in this caring but rather enervated novel about a couple who take their marriage for granted until lightning strikes, literally. Greg and Patty Goodman were high-school sweethearts. Twenty years later, Greg is a likable, not terribly ambitious high-school teacher, Patty an accountant `Superwoman` who keeps her home spotless and family well nurtured. Satisfied with their marriage, their two-story house, their adolescent twin daughters, and their still-youthful figures, the two seem ripe for a fall. It comes during a routine practice of the junior-varsity football team Greg coaches, when a 15-year-old player is fatally struck by lightning. While Greg's responsibility is settled by lawsuits, the accident brings out his moral vulnerabilities, which in turn release hidden needs in Patty. Switching back and forth between the spouses' points of view, Matson shows more skill portraying men than women. Rigid Patty never comes to life, and her softened personality at the end is never earned. Greg's behavior is increasingly sleazy, particularly when he becomes involved with the dead boy Tim's long-lost mother, yet the choices he makes are less predictable than Patty's, and he wins the reader's sympathy. On stage only briefly, Matson's most riveting characters are actually Tim himself, who wanted so much to play football, and his gruff yet protective father. Matson allows them an underlying passion missing from the rest of the book. Read full book review >
THE HUNGER MOON by Suzanne Matson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 1997

A single mother finds love and commitment with a little help from her women friends in this winsome, rather bland first novel by a Boston-based poet. Renata Rivera is fond of her handsome blond boyfriend, a bartender named Bryan, but his lack of dependability—and the terrible childhood that she's sure has permanently scarred him—is what she thinks about after she learns he's made her pregnant. Herself a product of irresponsible parenting, 26-year-old Renata opts to keep the baby but quit her waitressing job in Venice Beach, California, and move in with her divorced sister in Oregon until she gives birth—without informing the father. Shortly after Charlie is born, Renata leaves her sister as well, drifting across America by car until she settles, more or less arbitrarily, in Boston. There, she strikes up a friendship first with Eleanor, the well-bred 78-year-old widow who lives in the apartment next door, and then, after taking another waitressing job, with her babysitter, June, a pretty college student who dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Against a lulling background of bringing-up- baby trivia (Renata learns to breast-feed, gets Charlie to sleep in his crib, feeds him solid foods, etc.), the three women form a limited but genuine connection that offers them solace at a time when Eleanor is struggling with her weakening faculties, June is battling a serious eating disorder, and Renata is making her first forays into life as an independent working mom. When Bryan turns up in Boston, having learned of his son's existence, the women fear their tidy world will be destroyed. In the end, though, his appearance provides a catharsis that allows each of the three friends to deal with their private fears. Charming, but the low-key, bedtime-story tone may send some readers nodding off. (Author tour) Read full book review >