Susanna Moore is from Hawaii but now lives in New York City. She is the author of the novels In the Cut, The Whiteness of Bones, Sleeping Beauties, and My Old Sweetheart, which won the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for First Fiction, and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A nonfiction travel book, I Myself Have Seen It, will be published by the National Geographic Society in 2003.
In this coming-of-age novel by the author of My Old Sweetheart ( LJ 10/15/82), 20-year-old Mamie Clarke moves from Maui to New York, hoping to exorcize childhood ghosts that have left her emotionally numb. She achieves peace after a series of alternately amusing and sordid adventures with assorted urban cosmopolites. Unfortunately, few of the potentially interesting characters are fully realized; Moore's justly praised spare prose style here serves her ill as the dry vocalizations of an omniscient narrator. Repeatedly, the reader is told about rather than shown the characters' inner lives. When Mamie and her companions do speak for themselves, they command attention, as do vivid descriptions of Hawaii, but these moments are all too few. Not an essential purchase. Starr E. Smith, Georgetown Univ. Lib., Washington, D.C.
"An utterly wonderful novel. . .I envy everyone who enter, for the
first time, its world." --Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
Book World "A remarkably sly balancing act: a deeply sensual,
richly imagined coming-of-age story that manages to use a wickedly
satiric portrait of the uppercrust in the Manhattan of the early
1980s." --The Philadelphia Inquirer "An alluring novel, sure in
its embrace of the reader. . .who is swep away by Moore's eye for
detail."--Newsday "Ms. Moore possesses a finely tuned radar
system for phoniness and pretension, and many of her cameo
portraits glitter with a Waugh-like black humor. Indeed, she
demonstrates in this novel that she not only has a gift for
delineating the tragedies of domestic life...but that she also has
a capacity for comic invention, for showing what happens when our
vanities run amok."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "An
engrossing, sensual novel whose characters seem to live from the
moment of their introduction and whose plot is both believable and
satisfying. In short, The Whiteness of Bones is the kind of
book you'll read, re-read, and remember."--West Coast Review of
Books "So evocative you can almost feel the mud between your toes.
. . . Moore makes her story as real and mysterious as any island
legend, as powerful as the scent of the white ginger flowers."
-Kirkus Reviews (starred) "Moore's controlled prose maintains her
ambitiously serious intent. As much as women love Colette's and
Virginia Woolf's portraits of adored mothers and their daughters,
many will identify more with this wounded pair." -Ms. "Spare but
lyrical. . . . An engrossing novel, profoundly disturbing in its
message of feminine guilt." -Publishers Weekly
"A remarkably sly balancing act: a deeply sensual, richly imagined coming-of-age story that manages to use a wickedly satiric portrait of the uppercrust in the Manhattan of the early 1980s." -The Philadelphia Inquirer "An engrossing, sensual novel whose characters seem to live from the moment of their introduction and whose plot is both believable and satisfying. In short, The Whiteness of Bones is the kind of book you'll read, re-read, and remember." -West Coast Review of Books
Mamie Clarke grows up on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, desperate for the attention of her remote mother. Naive and inexperienced at 21, Mamie goes to live with her Aunt Alysse in the decadent milieu of the idle rich in 1980s Manhattan. ``This is an engrossing novel, profoundly disturbing in its message of feminine guilt,'' declared PW. (Feb.)