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‘A total joy to read’ Torrey Peters, author of Detransition Baby

A rebellious young musician reconnects with the matriarchs in her family as three generations of women strive for real freedom in this brilliant novel of family, sexuality, and feminism from the acclaimed author of The Best Kind of People.

It’s 1997 and Missy’s band has finally hit the big time as they tour across America. At twenty-two years old, Missy gets on stage every night and plays the song about her absent mother that made the band famous. Missy is the only girl in the band and she’s determined to party just as hard as everyone else, loving and leaving someone in every town. But then a forgotten party favor strands her at the border.

Fortysomething Carola is just surfacing from a sex scandal at the yoga center where she has been living when she sees her daughter, Missy, for the first time in ten years–on the cover of a music magazine.

Ruth is eighty-three and planning her return to the Turkish seaside village where she spent her childhood. But when her granddaughter Missy winds up crashing at her house, she decides it’s time that the strong and stubborn women in her family find a way to understand each other again.

In this sharply observed novel, Zoe Whittall captures three very different women who struggle to build an authentic life. Definitions of family, romance, gender, and love will radically change as they seek out lives that are nothing less than spectacular.

Reviews

Zoe Whittall's engrossing and epic novel paints an indelible portrait of three women, each of them navigating the complex constraints of their bodies, their families, their obligations, and their desires. A daring and beautiful examination of motherhood, The Spectacular left me breathless.
Robin Wasserman, author of <i>Mother Daughter Widow Wife</i>
Both raw and refined, The Spectacular is an insightful, poignant exploration of family and relationships from one of my favorite writers working today. A multigenerational story that's fully alive.
Iain Reid, author of <i>I’m Thinking of Ending Things</i>
Birth, identity, sex, what a woman wants, the vagaries of desire, love nibbling at the heart, independence, forfeiture of self, mother . . . Zoe Whittall carves at all of this with her pen and lays it out on the page in this fierce and tender novel.
David Bergen, author of <i>Here the Dark</i>
Zoe Whittall has this incredible ability to go straight at the honest emotional heart of a story, and yet even with that ferocity, her writing is always graceful, a total joy to read. It makes it so easy to love her characters. In the best books characters feel like my friends, but with the mothers of The Spectacular, they came to feel like my family.
Torrey Peters, author of <i>Detransition Baby</i>
The Spectacular gives us three brilliantly distinct voices of women challenging the societal expectations of who they should be . . . Zoe Whittall has a gift for vividly capturing our human behaviours, and for dialogue that will grab your heart. Both expansive and intimate, wild and tender, I loved it.
Ashley Audrain, author of The Push
A fascinating stunner of a novel
Kristen Arnett, Author of <i>Mostly Dead Things</i>