This Magnificent Desolation

Thomas O’Malley. Bloomsbury, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-1-60819-279-3
Raised in a Catholic orphanage in Minnesota’s Iron Range, Duncan, the youthful hero of O’Malley’s unrelentingly grim second novel (after In the Province of Saints), grows up listening to the story of how his mother left him there during the storm of the century in 1970. Eleven years later, Duncan’s mother, once-promising opera singer Maggie Bright, returns to take him back to San Francisco, where she works as an oncology terminal ward nurse, moonlights as a saloon singer, and drinks too much. In his new home, Duncan, who finds a kind of surrogate father in his mother’s friend Joshua McGreevey (a Vietnam veteran employed 70 feet under the city digging the San Padre Tunnel), is obsessed with the Apollo space program, especially Apollo 11, whose astronauts he believes never returned from the moon. Over the next four years, Duncan deals with suicide, sickness, violence, and catastrophic accidents while navigating between an unknown past and an uncertain future. Some readers might feel that this novel’s emotional landscape, populated by characters haunted by their personal histories, fulfills astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s famous description of the moon as “a magnificent desolation,” while others may find the endless litany of despair hollow and forced. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/28/2013
Release date: 03/19/2013
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-60819-470-4
Open Ebook - 978-1-60819-471-1
Paperback - 978-1-4088-3446-6
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.