AWP Award Series in the Novel
MOTHERLUNGE is an eloquent and irreverent debut novel about first sex, true love, chronic sibling rivalry; it’s about the deepest fear of young (and not-so-young) adulthood: the fear of inheriting a disappointing life. It’s motherly advice, too—featuring wigs, dogs, road trips, and medicine—a guide to the essential experiences of being female, “born unto a librarian, named for the goddess of sight,” waiting for the future to arrive. With sly wit and surprising joy, MOTHERLUNGE considers the flaws in the family line and celebrates the promise that staggers alongside.
Funny and smart…in Thea and those around her Scott has created characters we believe in and wish well, characters who feel real—strange and sad and happy, like real people are.
—Publishers Weekly (“Pick of the Week”)
Impressive…Scott, winner of the AWP Prize in the Novel, renders wonderfully offbeat characters in crisp, polished prose.
—Booklist (starred review)
From the judge’s citation:
Told with dazzling prose, Motherlunge is a wry, luminous exploration of the legacy of motherhood—here, about the afflictions that may cycle through generations. This is a thoroughly engaging novel, with wonderful turns of phrase in every sentence, and its witty humor announces a welcome new voice in American fiction, full of charm and tender wisdom.
—Don Lee, author of The Collective
…voice is where Kirstin Scott astonishes, both in the gutsy yet precise and lyrical voice of her narrator Thea, and in the brilliantly realized voices that Scott bestows on the rest of Thea’s family. Here we have a tribe of mothers-gone-wrong and their sidelined, well-meaning, hapless men – and yet, owing to the sheer inventiveness of Scott’s prose style, the family portrait that emerges is almost (well, not quite) affirmative. We believe in these characters and even believe that some good – some human equivalent of that ribald, generous and knowing voice — will come out of all this.
—Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule
So surprisingly joyous is Motherlunge’s writing, and so careful and precise, too—it’s full of the kind of perception that stays the reader’s eye, that startles and delights. Informed not so much by sentiment as by psychological, emotional, psychical knowledge, Motherlunge is an example of what important fiction does, allows us the experience of extremity within the arms of reason and hope.
—Michelle Latiolais, author of A Proper Knowledge
Winsome, deft, and magical . . . everything about Motherlunge is unpredictable in the best possible way. When I finished, I turned back to page one and read the book again.
—Debra Monroe, author of On the Outskirts of Normal
Motherlunge is one of the smartest amusement-park rides I’ve ever ridden.
—David Kranes, author of Making the Ghost Dance
Kirstin Scott’s stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Sonora Review, Western Humanities Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.