Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Freebie: Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates & The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

Congratulations to Jennifer Young, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Echolocation by Myfanwy Collins.

This week, readers have the chance to win two novels by two of our strongest contemporary female novelists: Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates and The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (which is now out in paperback).

Mudwoman, Oates' 39th novel, comes to us from Ecco Books with the following plot synopsis:
Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flats of the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives by an accident of fate—or destiny. After her rescue, the well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their middle-class values, seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past. Meredith “M.R.” Neukirchen is the first woman president of an Ivy League university. Her commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming. Involved with a secret lover whose feelings for her are teasingly undefined, and concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her leadership that test her in ways she could not have anticipated. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undo her. A reckless trip upstate thrusts M.R. Neukirchen into an unexpected psychic collision with Mudgirl and the life M.R. believes she has left behind. A powerful exploration of the enduring claims of the past, Mudwoman is at once a psychic ghost story and an intimate portrait of a woman cracking the glass ceiling at enormous personal cost, which explores the tension between childhood and adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the “public” and “private” in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.

Anne Enright's The Forgotten Waltz is from W. W. Norton, who calls it "a haunting story of desire: a recollection of the bewildering speed of attraction, the irreparable slip into longing."  Here's the plot description:
In Terenure, a suburb of Dublin, it has snowed. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for "the love of her life," Seán Vallely. As the city outside comes to a halt, Gina remembers their affair: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. Now, as the silent streets and falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, Gina awaits the arrival of Seán's fragile, twelve-year-old daughter, Evie--the complication, and gravity, of this second life. In this extraordinary novel, Anne Enright [writes of] the momentous drama of everyday life; the volatile connections between people; the wry, accurate take on families, marriage, and brittle middle age.

Writing in O Magazine, Lizzie Skurnick praised the book by saying, "In America we like our adultery served straight up: a bubble of illicit passion that ends in regret. That's not what Irish novelist Anne Enright is serving in The Forgotten Waltz, which forgoes the simple morality tale for something more complex and satisfying....Casting aside cultural bromides about the immorality of affairs, Enright puts us squarely in the center of a terrible truth: Love can be miraculous—and still destroy everything in its path."

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of both novels, all you have to do is answer this question:

What's the name of the novel for which Anne Enright won the Man Booker Prize in 2007?

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on March 29--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on March 30.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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