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Literary Fiction

The Mars Room

by Rachel Kushner

Quick take

Romy Hall: dancer, mother, drug user, convict. The Mars Room is the brutal story of her life behind bars.

Good to know

  • Heavy Read

  • Mutiple Viewpoints

  • Social Issues

  • Non-Linear Timeline

Why I love it

Don’t read this book if you’re looking for a fun escape! I'm serious. Look, the whole team here at BOTM is behind The Mars Room. We think it’s gritty, unapologetic, and searingly memorable. The author has burrowed her way into the oft-ignored world of the women's correctional facility and beckoned us in after to bear witness to hell on earth. Not everyone will enjoy this. But I would argue that th...

Synopsis

It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casu...