The Melting Season
By Jami Attenberg
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594488962, 304pp.)
Publication Date: January 21, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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A tender, provocative story about the power of friendship, the thrill of self-discovery, and the strength it takes to escape the past.
Catherine Madison is headed West with a suitcase full of cash that isn't hers. She's just left the only home she's ever known, a small town in Nebraska, after the only man she had ever known, her husband, Thomas, deserted her. She's also left behind her deepest, most shameful secrets-among them a dysfunctional family she's never quite been able to escape and a marriage whose most intimate moments have plagued her with self-doubt. On the road, she was going to become a new person. Or so she thought.
But running away from the past isn't as easy as she had hoped. When Catherine reaches Las Vegas, she forms surprising new friendships that compel her to reveal what she had sworn she'd keep hidden, and teach her what human connection really means. Armed with this new knowledge, she is finally emboldened to uncover the truth about her family, come to understand what destroyed her marriage, and prevent her troubled sister from repeating her mistakes.
Deeply compassionate and unflinchingly bold, The Melting Season is the story of an indelible character's journey from isolation to belonging, as well as an honest look at the things we feel we deserve from our lives- and how far we will go to find them.
Jami Attenberg is the author of the novel The Kept Man and of the story collection Instant Love. She has written for The New York Times, New York, Salon, Nylon, Print, Nerve, and others. Chicago native, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.
- Do you think Catherine should have kept Thomas’s money? Why or why not?
"Attenberg's narrative voice - a lean, straight-ahead, deadpan tone that cuts cleanly through Catherine's hypocrisy and self-pity like a laser-guided strike - makes The Melting Season singular and disquieting."
"A rich novel, one that begins as a road-trip yarn but then contains enough twists to form a complicated emotional journey."
-Time Out Chicago
"Attenberg's imagery is picture perfect and, many times, tragic.Her complex characters are not only relatable but share a journey we have all traveled: leaving home and discovering for the first time who we really are and where we belong."
"With a trail of whiskey and Diet Cokes in her wake, Catherine heads west to leave behind a damaged marriage. Reading about her life in Vegas and her road to self-discovery in this novel feels like peeking at a friend's diary."
"Attenberg is a brave, honest writer with scary talent, and this novel about a young woman heading west to escape a failing marriage and a small town is her best yet."
"An intelligent, moving portrait of a journey to self-awareness, with meaty characters and a refreshing absence of psychobabble."
"[Attenberg] renders poignant prose and portrays the desperate behavior of her characters with verve."