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About Dana Spiotta
Dana Spiotta is the author of five novels: WAYWARD (2021), INNOCENTS AND OTHERS (2016), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and The St. Francis College Literary Prize; STONE ARABIA (2011), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; EAT THE DOCUMENT (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; and LIGHTNING FIELD (2001). Spiotta was a Guggenheim Fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and the 2008 Rome Prize in Literature recipient. She was awarded the 2017 John Updike Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Syracuse and teaches in the Syracuse University MFA program.
More information can be found at www.danaspiotta.com
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Innocents and Others is about two women who grow up in LA in the 80s and become filmmakers. Meadow and Carrie have everything in common—except their views on sex, power, movie-making, and morality. Their friendship is complicated, but their devotion to each other trumps their wildly different approaches to film and to life. Meadow was always the more idealistic and brainy of the two; Carrie was more pragmatic. Into their lives comes Jelly, a master of seduction who calls powerful men and seduces them not with sex, but by being a superior listener. All of these women grapple with the question of how to be good: a good lover, a good friend, a good mother, a good artist.
A startlingly acute observer of the way we live now, Dana Spiotta “has created a new kind of great American novel” (The New York Times Magazine). “Impossible to put down” (Marie Claire), Innocents and Others is “a sexy, painfully insightful, and strangely redemptive novel about the ways we misread one another—with an ending that comes at you like a truck around a blind curve and stays with you for much, much longer” (Esquire).
“A virtuosic, singular and very funny portrait of a woman seeking sanity and purpose in a world gone mad.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Riddled with insights into aging, womanhood, and discontent, Wayward is as elegant as it is raw, and almost as funny as it is sad.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“A comic, vital new novel” —The New Yorker
Samantha Raymond's life has begun 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 complexity in contemporary America. Probing and provocative, brainy and sensual, it is a testament to our weird times, to reforms and resistance and utopian wishes, and to the beauty of ruins.
In the heyday of the 1970s underground, Bobby DeSoto and Mary Whittaker—passionate, idealistic, and in love —organize a series of radical protests against the Vietnam War. When one action goes wrong, the course of their lives is forever changed. The two must erase their past, forge new identities, and never see each other again.
Now it is the 1990s. Mary lives in the suburbs with her fifteen-year-old son, who spends hours immersed in the music of his mother's generation. She has no idea where Bobby is, whether he is alive or dead.
Shifting between the protests in the 1970s and the consequences of those choices in the 1990s, Dana Spiotta deftly explores the connection between the two eras—their language, technology, music, and activism. Dana Spiotta, "wonderfully observant and wonderfully gifted...with an uncanny feel for the absurdities and sadness of contemporary life" (The New York Times), has written a character-driven, brilliant, and riveting portrait of two eras and a revelatory novel about the culture of rebellion, with particular resonance now.
In the sibling relationship, “there are no first impressions, no seductions, no getting to know each other,” says Denise Kranis. For Denise and her brother, Nik, now in their forties, no relationship is more significant. They grew up in Los Angeles in the late seventies and early eighties. Nik was always the artist, always wrote music, always had a band. Now he makes his art in private, obsessively documenting the work but never testing it in the world. Denise remains Nik’s most passionate and acute audience; she is also the crucial support for Nik and for their aging mother, whose dementia seems to threaten her own memory. When Denise’s daughter, Ada, decides to make a film about Nik, everyone’s vulnerabilities escalate.
In Stone Arabia, Dana Spiotta “explores the inner workings of celebrity, family, and other modern-day mythologies” (Vogue).
From the National Book Award nominated author of Innocents and Others and Wayward, a “wonderfully funny, accomplished, and far-reaching first novel about our consumer colossus and the human products it makes and shapes” (Don DeLillo).
In her bold and lyrical first novel, Dana Spiotta evokes Los Angeles as a land of Spirit Gyms and Miracle Miles, a great centerless place where chains of reference get lost, or finally don't matter.
Mina lives with her screenwriter husband and works at her best friend Lorene's highly successful concept restaurants, which exploit the desires and idiosyncrasies of a rich, chic clientele. Almost inadvertently, Mina has acquired two lovers. And then there are the other men in her life: her father, a washed-up Hollywood director living in a yurt and hiding from his debtors, and her disturbed brother, Michael, whose attempts to connect with her force Mina to consider that she might still have a heart—if only she could remember where she had left it.
Between her Spiritual Exfoliation and Detoxification therapies and her elaborate devotion to style, Lorene is interested only in charting her own perfection and impending decay. Although supremely confident in a million shallow ways, she, too, starts to fray at the edges.
And there is Lisa, a loving mother who cleans houses, scrapes by, and dreams of food terrorists and child abductors, until even the most innocent events seem to hint at dark possibilities.
Lightning Field explores the language tics of our culture—the consumerist fetishes, the self-obsession, and the possibility that you just might have gotten it all badly wrong.
Playful and dire, raw and poetic, Lightning Field introduces a startling new voice in American fiction.