New York City, 1982. The Martians – Carrie, Eli, their mother Viv and her teenage boyfriend, Arnie – live in a one- bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. Viv smokes marijuana continually, laying out her bizarre version of reality to anyone who will listen. Eleven year-old Carrie’s budding OCD manifests in attention to detail at the expense of the big picture. Her angry older brother Eli just wants to make it to a showing of The Shining that isn’t sold out.
Around the corner – ‘above the smaller dry cleaners’ – the psychic Miss Rosa’s neon rose glows above the street. Keener on recounting the past than predicting the future, Miss Rosa (a.k.a. Phoebe Curtis) befriends the Martians one by one, and shares a part of her story with each of them – a story that resonates disturbingly with their own lives. But the Martians have other things to worry about: can Carrie afford a Red Devil costume for the Halloween parade? Who really has the longest fry? And how will Viv buy pot and pay the rent?
“Nora Chassler’s extraordinary Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space breaks all moulds ... it is a triumphant vindication of the edgy, eccentric demotic as a compelling narrative voice.”
— William Boyd, The Guardian
“Somewhere between Nabokov and Bret Easton Ellis ... Chassler’s characters elicit real emotion. Their stories grip you to the last and leave you wanting more.”
— Chris Dolan, The Herald
Nora Chassler was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1972, and grew up in New York City. She has an undergraduate degree in English from Hunter College, CUNY, in New York, and a Masters in Creative Writing from St Andrews. She has worked as a model and a social worker. She lives in Edinburgh.
Her first novel, Miss Thing, was published by Two Ravens Press in 2010. Her second, with the ambitious title Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space, was published by Valley Press in March 2015.
Date Published: 2015-03-20
Catalogue Number: VP0065
Number of Pages: 160
Cover design by Jamie McGarry
Cover illustration by Megan Burt, based on a photograph by Steven Siegel
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