The Spectacular: A Novel

Category: Book
By (author): Whittall, Zoe
Subject:  FICTION / Canadian
  FICTION / Contemporary Women
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Literary
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: August 2021
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 368
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 0.92in
Our Price:
$ 24.99
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

It's taboo to regret motherhood. But what would happen if you did? Shifting perspectives and time periods, The Spectacular is a multi-generational story exploring sexuality, gender and the weight of reproductive freedoms, from the author of The Best Kind of People. 

It's 1997 and Missy's band has finally hit the big time as they tour across America. At twenty-two years old, Missy gets on stage every night and plays the song about her absent mother that made the band famous. Missy is the only girl in the band and she's determined to party just as hard as everyone else, loving and leaving someone in every town. But then a forgotten party favour strands her at the border. 

Forty-something Carola is just surfacing from a sex scandal at the yoga centre where she has been living, when she sees her daughter, Missy, for the first time in ten years-on the cover of a music magazine. 

Ruth is eighty-three and planning her return to the Turkish seaside village where she spent her childhood. But when her granddaughter Missy winds up crashing at her house, she decides it's time that the strong and stubborn women in her family find a way to understand each other again. 

In her new book, by turns sharp and provocative, Zoe Whittall captures three generations of very different women who struggle to build an authentic life in the absence of traditional familial and marital structures. Definitions of family, romance, gender and love will radically change as they seek out lives that are nothing less than spectacular. 

Review Quote*

"What an honor and privilege to read a book that so fiercely wants to be read. Zoe Whittall's The Spectacular is rangy and deft, weaving three character threads together in a dexterous series of twists that left me excited for more. I found myself deeply attached to the women of this book and their relationships with one another. Whittall addresses motherhood and autonomy in ways I've never seen done before. A fascinating stunner of a novel, The Spectacular is exactly that: spectacular!"

Review Quote*

"Zoe Whittall's engrossing and epic novel paints an indelible portrait of three women, each of them navigating the complex constraints of their bodies, their families, their obligations, and their desires. A daring and beautiful examination of motherhood, The Spectacular left me breathless." 

Review Quote*

"Both raw and refined, The Spectacular is an insightful, poignant exploration of family and relationships from one of my favorite writers working today. A multi-generational story that's fully alive."

Review Quote*

"Birth, identity, sex, what a woman wants, the vagaries of desire, love nibbling at the heart, independence, forfeiture of self, mother. Zoe Whittall carves at all of this with her pen and lays it out on the page in this fierce and tender novel." 

Review Quote*

"Fearless, challenging, epic-these are all words I have been using to describe The Spectacular, Zoe Whittall's latest novel about three generations of women who are tied together by family obligations and a crooked connection to motherhood. Ruth, Carola, and especially Missy crackle off the pages, sometimes prickly, often uncertain, but always searching for a happiness that is bound by the expectations of becoming a mother and the resentments that follow. Fiction often teaches us truths, and The Spectacular does just that, laying bare the ways in which women are defined and the ways in which women can define themselves."

Review Quote*

"Zoe Whittall's The Spectacular is such a fun read. It sizzles with women's desire -- for success, fulfillment, distraction, drugs, sex, love, care. The worlds Whittall's characters inhabit - a former ashram, a commune, the indie rock scene of the 1990s - are alive with meaning. Witnessing the women in this novel connect, miss each other, and try to figure one another out is a joyful and tender experience. The Spectacular is... what can I say, spectacular!" 

Review Quote*

"The Spectacular gives us three brilliantly distinct voices of women challenging the societal expectations of who they should be. This is a novel about how we learn to define who we are, about the courage to make decisions nobody will understand, and about the profound complexities of maternal ambivalence. Zoe Whittall has a gift for vividly capturing our human behaviours, and for dialogue that will grab your heart. Both expansive and intimate, wild and tender, I loved it."  

Review Quote*

"The Spectacular is a lush, sweeping novel that excavates the maternal layers of a family's genealogy to breathtaking, surprising ends. This book will leave you with a brilliant roar inside your chest -- Whittall's prose is afire with the most complex and daring forms of empathy."

Review Quote*

"Zoe Whittall has this incredible ability to go straight at the honest emotional heart of a story, and yet even with that ferocity, her writing is always graceful, a total joy to read. It makes it so easy to love her characters. In the best books characters feel like my friends, but with the mothers of The Spectacular, they came to feel like my family."