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A Good Morning America "Top 15 Books Perfect for Spring Reading"
Independent Publisher Book Awards, Silver Medal - Literary Fiction
"Otis's debut novel explores the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships with depth, humor, and sensitivity...A moving and relatable story; literary fiction fans will be pleased." -Library Journal
"An arresting debut novel...with writing as deft as a choreographed dance." -The San Francisco Bay Times
Award-winning author Mary Otis delivers an arresting debut novel that explores the complexities between mothers and daughters, and the conflicting desires for connection and escape.
Viva has always found ways to manage her mother Charlotte's drinking because, for her entire life, it's been Viva and Charlotte against the world. The pair spend years on the move, living in a trailer on Cape Cod, the family home of one of Charlotte's romantic entanglements, and finally the home of Charlotte's sister and brother-in-law whose generosity comes with the pressure of intrusion and resentment.
Along the way, Viva accidentally discovers an innate talent for dance and chases her new passion with the same fervor that her mother chases the bottle. Over the years, Viva's talent becomes her ticket to a life of her own, and Charlotte's investment in Viva's dance training is tinged with her own past failures and insecurity. As Viva moves further away geographically and emotionally to pursue her dream, Charlotte struggles to make peace with her own past as a failed artist, a distant mother, and an alcoholic. When tragedy strikes, Viva begins a downward spiral that forces her to decide whether she will repeat her mother's mistakes or finally take control of her life.
Told from interwoven perspectives with writing as deft as a choreographed dance, this story delves into a mother-daughter relationship filled with immense heart in the face of heartbreak.
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About the Author
Mary Otis is the author of the short story collection Yes, Yes, Cherries. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have been published in Best New American Voices, Electric Literature, Tin House, Zyzzyva, McSweeney's, Bennington Review, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and numerous other literary journals and anthologies. She has taught fiction at UCLA and was a founding professor in the UC Riverside Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. Originally from the Boston area, Mary lives in Los Angeles.