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Payback

Best Seller
Payback by Mary Gordon
Paperback $17.00
Aug 24, 2021 | ISBN 9780593082546

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  • Aug 24, 2021 | ISBN 9780593082546

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  • Sep 01, 2020 | ISBN 9781524749231

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Praise

“Morally complex.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Gordon has produced her most topical and propulsive novel to date. . . . What she has set up in this clash of cultures and values is the ‘heroism of good manners’ versus the brutality of a world in which the president, setting a coarse new tone, has ‘poisoned the air.’ Gordon makes it clear how high the stakes are in this battle for decency.” —Los Angeles Times

“[Gordon] is expert at creating characters of clear moral, intellectual and what might be called aesthetic goodness—then testing that goodness in a clarifying, often life-altering way. In some ways, Gordon’s familiar conception of the novel is the real character being tested in Payback, as a sensibility attuned to the nuances of truth and beauty finds itself in the harsh, ugly light of the reality TV show that our world is inexorably becoming.” —The Washington Post

“Excellent. . . . Gordon nails period details and vividly describes her characters’ worlds, whether they are restoring a work of art or raising a daughter. This mesmerizing novel hits hard.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Nuanced where it could be sensational, the novel explores how one moment can completely change the trajectory of two women’s lives forever. In Payback, Gordon’s understated and beautiful prose reveals the murkiness of victimhood, forgiveness, and redemption.” —Chronogram
 
Payback resists categorization; it’s part satire and part meditative character study. . . . [The novel] offers many pleasures, not only the range in voices but also the evocation of two eras, the early 1970s and the current decade, with the right amount of period detail.” —BookPage
 
“Virtuoso Gordon creates finely nuanced moral quandaries and explores the deep toxicity of sexism with scintillating energy and piercing inquisitiveness. . . . Every facet of this psychologically and sensuously lush novel about damage and nurture, altruism and selfishness, disorder and art, privacy and meaningful work, sexual violence and blame, hate and forgiveness poses profound questions about womanhood, how one lives one’s life, what truly matters, and what we owe others.” —Booklist (starred review)
 
“Gordon’s masterful structure and sense of voice create an intensely moving meditation on the relationship of the past self and its deeds to the present, as well as a brilliant evocation of the emotional impact of aging on women’s lives and identities.” —Historical Novel Society

“Into our troubled moment of reckoning Mary Gordon’s new novel, Payback, enters with timely grace. . . . Gordon, having grown up in the Catholic church and devoted a full, increasingly rich career to writing novels built on the insolubility of moral problems in an age where religious resolution is no longer imaginable, is writing in a tradition that comes straight out of the mid-19th century.” —Public Books

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