NEWFANGLED by Debra Monroe


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 An incisive, if at times overly complex, view of the disintegration of a modern family--in a first novel from the author of two story collections (A Wild, Cold State, 1995, etc.). Maidie, twice divorced and in her mid-30s, is the newly hired curator of the Museum of Domestic History and Home Economy (soon to be renamed the Women's History Museum) in Tucson. Having walked out on her abusive last husband, Maidie views the new job as a fresh start. Ironically enough, she is a sociologist specializing in family dynamics, despite the fact that she hasn't come close to creating an ordinary family of her own. Her mother, raised motherless herself, abandoned Maidie and her two sisters as children, leaving the young girls in the care of their father and the kindly old couple next door to their home in Minnesota. Memories of the past, of her failed romances, and of the extended families that converge on those recollections intrude on Maidie's current life, coloring the fresh start she hoped to make. In her first days in Tucson, meanwhile, she meets the sexy, if much older, Rex, who rents antiques from the museum for film props, and she also inadvertently becomes part of the large extended family that takes up much of the neighborhood she lives in. As Maidie slips into this new tribe, spending a lot of her time with the clan's eccentric matriarch, she begins to feel restless, then finds herself yearning for yet another new start--somewhere else. When a phone call from her mother, whom she hasn't spoken with in over 20 years, beckons her to California, Maidie is finally compelled to face her complex and conflicted feelings about families and independence. Overburdened with flashbacks, which slow the pace, but a debut that nonetheless raises pertinent questions about the fate of modern-day families, and offers some answers in an agreeably sardonic tone. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-684-81905-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997


by Debra Monroe
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by Debra Monroe
FictionA WILD, COLD STATE by Debra Monroe
by Debra Monroe