Ultraviolet : A Novel
Booklist Reviews 2018 August #1
When Kathryn loses her mother, Elsie, unexpectedly, she picks up and moves to Portland, Oregon, in 1947. After spending her childhood in India with fellow Mennonites, Kathryn never felt at home in the Midwest. Jobs aren't terribly plentiful, and Kathryn's grateful for work waitressing at a Portland diner. Soon repeat-customer Carl proposes, and they make their way to sunny, smoggy Los Angeles. Carl is a busy construction worker 16 years Kathryn's senior, and it's not long before she feels uneasy in Los Angeles and in her marriage. Their daughter, Samantha, picks up on the tension between her parents and vows to live a more thoughtful and independent life. When adult Samantha moves to Boston, she realizes that the ties binding her to Kathryn and Elsie are stronger than she imagined. Through the strengths and vulnerabilities of these three very different women, Matson (The Tree-Sitter?, 2006) explores the motivations behind motherhood, matrimony, and career ambitions. Fans of Anne Tyler and Geraldine Brooks will enjoy the intertwined, intergenerational narratives; historical details; and emotional depth of this engrossing novel. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2018 September #1
From one family comes a tale of three women as they deal with the trials and tribulations of domestic life. Elsie lives in 1930s India with her missionary husband, whose priorities are clearly with his life's work rather than with his family. Their daughter Kathryn arrives in the United States as a young woman during World War II and finds her way to Oregon, eager to start a new life. She marries the seemingly good-natured Carl, but after two children and many years of financial struggle, their relationship falls apart. Shift to their daughter Samantha, who comes of age in the 1970s as societal norms are imploding. In the end, it's Samantha who helps both her father and her mother navigate their end-of-life journeys. Their lives can be viewed as a time line of women's roles in American life, with matriarch Elsie passively subversive, Kathryn rebelling against her constraints, and Samantha possessing the freedom of self-determination.
PW Reviews 2018 July #3