A "furious and addictive new novel" (The New York Times) about mothers and daughters, and one woman's midlife reckoning as she flees her suburban life.
On the heels of the election of 2016, Samantha Raymond's life begins to...Read More
On the heels of the election of 2016, Samantha Raymond's life begins to come apart: her mother is ill, her teenage daughter is increasingly remote, and at fifty-two she finds herself staring into the Mids - that hour of supreme wakefulness between three and four in the morning in which women of a certain age suddenly find themselves contemplating motherhood, mortality, and, in this case, the state of our unraveling nation.
When she falls in love with a beautiful, decrepit house in a hardscrabble neighborhood in Syracuse, she buys it on a whim and flees her suburban life - and her family - as she grapples with how to be a wife, a mother, and a daughter, in a country that is coming apart at the seams.
Dana Spiotta's Wayward is a stunning novel about aging, about the female body, and about female difficulty - female complexity - in the age of Trump. Probing and provocative, brainy and sensual, it is a testament to our weird, off-kilter America, to reforms and resistance and utopian wishes, and to the beauty of ruins. Tremendous new work from one of the most gifted writers of her generation.
DANA SPIOTTA is the author of Innocents and Others, which won the St. Francis College Literary Prize and was short-listed for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Stone Arabia, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; Eat the Document, which was a National Book Award finalist; and Lightning Field. Spiotta was a Guggenheim Fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and she won the 2008-9 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. In 2017, the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her the John Updike Prize in Literature. Spiotta lives in Syracuse and teaches in the Syracuse University MFA program.
"A wonderfully mischievous and witty story . . . A knockout." - Publishers Weekly
"Wayward is a strikingly human and affecting story... gloriously cool, deftly assembled, brimming with mood... a hymn to iconoclasm, a piercing novel about what we lose and gain by when we step out of life's deepest worn grooves." - Vogue
"This is story about female desire and fulfillment, a woman realizing she's fallen into roles she resents and giving in to the impulse to abandon them. Spiotta glides through her journey with sparkling prose, delving into the contradictions and complexities of being an aging woman--and raising a daughter who will one day do the same--in today's America." - Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed
"An engrossing, interior mother-daughter story that expands into a sharp social commentary." - Kirkus
"At once a love letter to the Salt City and a smart and introspective device for illuminating the present through the very recent past . . . Sam immerses herself in feminist resistance, [but] her malaise is as potent as her yearning for activism. While trying to salvage a relationship with her daughter, she desperately searches for meaning in a world headed toward uncertain ruin." - Library Journal
"Furious and addictive . . . Sam [is] an ideal guide, rash, funny, searching, entirely unpredictable, appalled at her own entitlement and ineffectuality--drawn with a kind of skeptical fondness . . . So much contemporary fiction swims about in its own theories; what a pleasure to encounter not just ideas about the thing, but the thing itself--descriptions that irradiate the pleasure centers of the brain, a protagonist so densely, exuberantly imagined, she feels like a visitation." - Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
"Exhilarating. . . Wayward reads like a burning fever dream. A virtuosic, singular and very funny portrait of a woman seeking sanity and purpose in a world gone mad." - Joanna Rakoff, The New York Times Book Review
"An urgent, deeply moving, wholly original novel by one of the most wildly talented writers in America. This is Spiotta's best book yet, rich with all the joyful immersion-in-culture that characterized her earlier work, and of which she is a master, but with, it seems to me, more heart, hope, and urgency. There's not a smarter, more engaging, more celebratory writer working today than Dana Spiotta, and here she shows us to ourselves with stunning, sometimes lacerating, honesty, but also with a feeling of genuine hope for us, i.e., with kindness. I finished the book last night and woke this morning both fonder of, and more terrified for, America." - George Saunders