Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Mars Room, written and read by Rachel Kushner.
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018**
**A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
'An unforgettable novel.' DAILY TELEGRAPH
'More knowing about prison life [than Orange Is The New Black]... so powerful.' NEW YORK TIMES
'One of America's finest writers.' VOGUE
Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences, plus six years, at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Outside is the world from which she has been permanently severed: the San Francisco of her youth, changed almost beyond recognition. The Mars Room strip club where she once gave lap dances for a living. And her seven-year-old son, Jackson, now in the care of Romy’s estranged mother.
Inside is a new reality to adapt to: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive. The deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner details with humour and precision. Daily acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike. Allegiances formed over liquor brewed in socks, and stories shared through sewage pipes.
Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line – until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence, challenging her to escape her own destiny and culminating in a climax of almost unbearable intensity. Through Romy – and through a cast of astonishing characters populating TheMars Room – Rachel Kushner presents not just a bold and unsentimental panorama of life on the margins of contemporary America, but an excoriating attack on the prison-industrial complex.
It is an unforgettable novel, and leaves the reader in no doubt that Kushner is one of America’s greatest living authors.
One of the greatest novels I have read in years. Her prior novel, The Flamethrowers, was expansive and thrilling, but this is richer and deeper, more ambitious in its moral vision… an exhilarating, always surprising read.
When I finished reading The Mars Room, I immediately reread it because I didn’t want to leave its world… The Mars Room teems with quick and distinctive voices.
Cements [Kushner's] status as one of America's finest writers.
I’ve been bowled over by Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room [about life in a women’s prison]. It’s astounding – very difficult to read but so beautifully done, and with such knowledge, although it doesn’t feel like a “researched” book.
Celebrated for her razor-sharp novels, now the author is releasing her first essay collection, The Hard Crowd. She talks to Kate Wyver about near-death experiences, partying with the Stones and refusing to be the 'moral centre' of her work.
Books and Christmas go hand in hand for Icelanders. A country famous for its love of books and storytelling, Iceland has a uniquely rich literary heritage. Svanborg Þórdís Sigurðardóttir, a bookseller at Reykjavík’s famous Penninn Eymundsson bookshop, tells us what it’s like to work as a bookseller in Iceland at Christmas.
Rachel Kushner presents not just a bold and unsentimental panorama of life on the margins of contemporary America, but an excoriating attack on the prison-industrial complex. Read an extract from her Man Booker Prize 2018 Shortlisted book, The Mars Room, below.