CALLING OUT by Rae Meadows

CALLING OUT

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A depressed 30-year-old advertising copywriter packs up her New York life and heads west in this debut novel.

Chronically bored and suddenly single (her long-time boyfriend has met someone new), Jane realizes she’s got to make a change before unhappiness pulls her under. Looking for any kind of sign, she seizes on a magazine article that lists Salt Lake City as a great place to live, packs up her wagon train of trouble and drives to Utah, hoping that the state’s sheer scenic beauty and unfamiliar ways will help her heal. Once settled, Jane finds work answering the phones for an escort service owned by Mohammed, one of the few non-Mormons in town. Jane’s duties include screening prospective clients and, for those new to the service, offering instruction as to what is permitted by local law. Can do: Kiss, cuddle, caress, tease, strip; can’t do: sex, hand jobs, blow jobs, massages. Initially, Jane worries about her coworkers, a collection of young local girls, none of whom have ever been outside their home state. Jane encourages the youngest of them, Nikyla, to go to school. And the girls talk Jane into giving escorting a try. With little concern for her own safety or well-being, Jane befriends a risk-taking young woman with a growing cocaine habit, a troubled Mormon man who loves Jane but not the work she does and a frequent caller to the escort service who has a little more in mind than a strip-tease act. When Jane crosses the line between escort and prostitute, she wonders what could be next. Meadows displays strong narrative technique as she brings the disjointed culture of Mormon-ruled Salt Lake City and a group of 20-something Latter Day Sinners into high relief. But Jane’s spiral into the abyss is too controlled to suggest that her well-being is ever seriously at risk.

Still, a writer to watch.

Pub Date: June 27th, 2006
ISBN: 1-59692-165-X
Page count: 220pp
Publisher: MacAdam/Cage
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2006




Kirkus Interview
Rae Meadows
August 8, 2016

In Rae Meadow’s new novel I Will Send Rain, Annie Bell can't escape the dust. It’s in her hair, covering the windowsills, coating the animals in the barn, in the corners of her children's dry, cracked lips. It's 1934 and the Bell farm in Mulehead, Oklahoma is struggling as the earliest storms of The Dust Bowl descend. All around them the wheat harvests are drying out and people are packing up their belongings as storms lay waste to the Great Plains. As the Bells wait for the rains to come, Annie and each member of her family are pulled in different directions. Annie’s fragile young son, Fred, suffers from dust pneumonia; her headstrong daughter, Birdie, flush with first love, is choosing a dangerous path out of Mulehead; and Samuel, her husband, is plagued by disturbing dreams of rain. As Annie, desperate for an escape of her own, flirts with the affections of an unlikely admirer, she must choose who she is going to become. “The author has an abundance of feeling for the Bells,” our reviewer writes, “and the reader comes to care deeply about them as they deal with unimaginable loss.” View video >

MORE BY RAE MEADOWS

FictionMOTHERS & DAUGHTERS by Rae Meadows
by Rae Meadows