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The Red Car
Cover of The Red Car
The Red Car
A Novel
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A wildly imaginative, rebellious, and tender tale of independence from the critically acclaimed author of Bad Marie.

With each new novel, Marcy Dermansky deploys her "brainy, emotionally sophisticated" (New York Times) prose to greater and greater heights, and The Red Car is no exception.

Leah is living in Queens with a possessive husband she doesn't love and a long list of unfulfilled ambitions when she's jolted from a thick ennui by a call from the past. Her beloved former boss and friend, Judy, has died in a car accident and left Leah her most prized possession and, as it turns out, the instrument of Judy's death: a red sports car.

Judy was the mentor Leah never expected. She encouraged Leah's dreams, analyzed her love life, and eased her into adulthood over long lunches away from the office. Facing the jarring disconnect between the life she expected and the one she is now actually living, Leah takes off for San Francisco to claim Judy's car. In sprawling days defined by sex, sorrow, and unexpected delight, Leah revisits past lives and loves in search of a self she abandoned long ago. Piercing through Leah's surreal haze is the enigmatic voice of Judy, as sharp as ever, providing wry commentary on Leah's every move.

Dermansky evokes yet another edgy, capricious, and beautifully haunting heroine―one whose search for realization is as wonderfully unpredictable and hypnotic as the twists and turns of the Pacific Coast Highway. Tautly wound, transgressive, and mordantly funny, The Red Car is an incisive exploration of one woman's unusual route to self-discovery.

A wildly imaginative, rebellious, and tender tale of independence from the critically acclaimed author of Bad Marie.

With each new novel, Marcy Dermansky deploys her "brainy, emotionally sophisticated" (New York Times) prose to greater and greater heights, and The Red Car is no exception.

Leah is living in Queens with a possessive husband she doesn't love and a long list of unfulfilled ambitions when she's jolted from a thick ennui by a call from the past. Her beloved former boss and friend, Judy, has died in a car accident and left Leah her most prized possession and, as it turns out, the instrument of Judy's death: a red sports car.

Judy was the mentor Leah never expected. She encouraged Leah's dreams, analyzed her love life, and eased her into adulthood over long lunches away from the office. Facing the jarring disconnect between the life she expected and the one she is now actually living, Leah takes off for San Francisco to claim Judy's car. In sprawling days defined by sex, sorrow, and unexpected delight, Leah revisits past lives and loves in search of a self she abandoned long ago. Piercing through Leah's surreal haze is the enigmatic voice of Judy, as sharp as ever, providing wry commentary on Leah's every move.

Dermansky evokes yet another edgy, capricious, and beautifully haunting heroine―one whose search for realization is as wonderfully unpredictable and hypnotic as the twists and turns of the Pacific Coast Highway. Tautly wound, transgressive, and mordantly funny, The Red Car is an incisive exploration of one woman's unusual route to self-discovery.

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About the Author-
  • Marcy Dermansky is the author of the novels The Red Car, Bad Marie, and Twins. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney's, Five Chapters, the Indiana Review, and elsewhere. She lives in New Jersey with her daughter.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 1, 2016
    In the sleek and polished third novel by the author of Bad Marie, aspiring novelist Leah receives the bequest of the titular vehicle from her former boss Judy, killed when a driver runs a red light. Leah, 33 and unhappily married to the perhaps too-conveniently villainous Hans, whom she married when they were both graduate students and he needed a green card, takes off from Queens for San Francisco to retrieve the car. There follows a series of surreal adventures with old coworkers, a college friend “worth insane amounts of money,” a hippie mechanic, and a motel receptionist, as Leah begins to imagine the possibility of a happier future for herself. Dermansky’s short, punchy chapters keep the tightly written novel moving smoothly along, and flashbacks to her past add depth without slowing momentum. When fantasy elements—such as the fact that Leah constantly hears the deceased Judy talking to her, as well as the alleged “haunting” of a car that wants its drivers to exceed the speed limit—threaten to steer the novel off course, the author brings it sharply back in line with snappy dialogue and a great ending.

  • AudioFile Magazine Leah's former boss and mentor, Judy, dies unexpectedly and leaves Leah her red sports car, spurring Leah on a journey of self-discovery. Narrator Soneela Nankani portrays Leah as disconnected from the real world, floating from moment to moment with passive confusion. Her performance highlights Leah's denial of her failing marriage and faltering career. In contrast, Judy, in flashbacks and in Leah's memory, speaks in a confident, throaty contralto. Leah travels cross-country to attend Judy's funeral and spends the following weeks in San Francisco, making a series of irresponsible, spur-of-the-moment choices in an effort to avoid conflict. Minimal distinctions in the voices of secondary characters reflect Leah's self-centered experience of the world and highlight her slowly developing ability to take control of her life. E.C. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
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A Novel
Marcy Dermansky
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