Ultraviolet : A Novel

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  • Author(s): Matson, Suzanne
  • Publication Information:
    New York : Catapult. 2018
  • Additional Information
    • Publication Type:
    • Abstract:
      Named a Best Book of 2018 by Real Simple'This unostentatious yet intricate novel follows the women of a family across nearly a century... Domestic scenes emit blasts of emotional life, as the women grapple with the'swooning collapse and then the expanding distance'between their interior lives and the outside world.'—The New Yorker Suzanne Matson's engrossing and intimate new novel, Ultraviolet, centers on Kathryn—the daughter of Elsie and mother of Samantha—while illuminating the lives of three generations of women, each more independent than the last. Their stories open in 1930s India, where Elsie lives with her authoritarian missionary husband and their children. Returning to the American Midwest as a teenager, Kathryn feels alienated and restless. When she loses her mother prematurely to a stroke, she escapes to Oregon for a fresh start. Disappointed that her education was cut short by her father, and dreaming of becoming a writer, she supports herself as a waitress in wartime America, dating soldiers, then meeting and marrying Finnish-American Carl. A construction worker sixteen years her senior, he is an unlikely match, though appealing in his care-free ways and stark difference from her Mennonite past. But Kathryn ends up feeling trapped in the marriage, her ambitions thwarted. Samantha, who's grown up in the atmosphere of her mother's discontent, follows her own career to teach at a university in faraway Boston, where she maintains a happy family of her own. When Kathryn starts to fail, Samantha moves her mother near her to care for, and then to watch over her deathbed, where “something in the room—the spell, the cord knitting them together—is cut. Or no, that can't be right, either.” Ultraviolet is a lyrical novel of great emotional depth. Suzanne Matson recognizes both the drama that is within every existence and the strengths and fragilities of our relationships with others. She shines a brilliant light on the complexities of marriage, motherhood, aging, and the end of life.
    • Subject Terms:
    • Subject Terms:
    • Related ISBNs:
      9781936787951. 9781936787968.
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
    • Publication Information:
      Print/Save 100 pages
      Copy/Paste Restricted
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      MATSON, S. Ultraviolet : A Novel. New York: Catapult, 2018. ISBN 9781936787951. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1831825&custid=s6224580. Acesso em: 3 jul. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Matson S. Ultraviolet : A Novel. New York: Catapult; 2018. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1831825&custid=s6224580. Accessed July 3, 2020.
    • AMA11:
      Matson S. Ultraviolet : A Novel. Catapult; 2018. Accessed July 3, 2020. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1831825&custid=s6224580
    • APA:
      Matson, S. (2018). Ultraviolet : A Novel. Catapult.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Matson, Suzanne. 2018. Ultraviolet : A Novel. New York: Catapult. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1831825&custid=s6224580.
    • Harvard:
      Matson, S. (2018) Ultraviolet : A Novel. New York: Catapult. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1831825&custid=s6224580 (Accessed: 3 July 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Matson, S 2018, Ultraviolet : A Novel, Catapult, New York, viewed 3 July 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Matson, Suzanne. Ultraviolet : A Novel. Catapult, 2018. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1831825&custid=s6224580.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Matson, Suzanne. Ultraviolet : A Novel. New York: Catapult, 2018. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1831825&custid=s6224580.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Matson S. Ultraviolet : A Novel [Internet]. New York: Catapult; 2018 [cited 2020 Jul 3]. Available from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1831825&custid=s6224580


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. VERDICT While this new work from the author of The Tree-Sitter is slow moving, each chapter serves as an in-depth "snapshot," leaving it up to readers to extract meaning and put it all together. Readers of Elizabeth Strout may want to take a look.—Susanne Wells, Indianapolis P.L.

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2018 July #3

Matson (The Tree-Sitter) follows the disappointments and dilemmas of the women of one family across 80 years in this fascinating and stirring novel. Born in 1930s India, Kathryn sloughs off her austere Mennonite missionary upbringing after returning to America. Kathryn moves to Portland, Ore., and dates a string of servicemen until she meets Carl, a former communist sheet metal worker who's 16 years older than her. She follows him to a temporary work assignment in Los Angeles, where they marry. After returning to Portland, Kathryn struggles with miscarriages; Carl's sprawling, Finnish-speaking family; and Carl's irregular work. Kathryn's second child, Samantha, grows up amid her mother's curdling resentment and is forced to care for her elderly father after her parents' long-postponed divorce. Matson glides through her characters' lives in almost self-contained chapters punctuated by explosions of burnished emotion: the quick fracturing of a family sledding trip, the casual cruelty of a spoiled neighbor girl, the awkwardness of a mother-daughter trip to Vegas. History minimally intrudes and is generally used to heighten sentiments, such as the Black Dahlia case, which serves to highlight Kathryn's vulnerability, and a Vietnam War protest that captures Samantha's shaky coming-of-age. Readers will latch onto the unforgettable characters of this accomplished saga of the shifting personal and historical complications of American womanhood. Agent: Emily Forland, Brandt & Hotchman Literary Agents. (Sept.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.