Notable American Women: A Novel

Front Cover
Vintage Contemporaries, 2002 - Fiction - 243 pages
69 Reviews
Ben Marcus achieved cult status and gained the admiration of his peers with his first book,TheAge of Wire and String.WithNotable American Womenhe goes well beyond that first achievement to create something radically wonderful, a novel set in a world so fully imagined that it creates its own reality.

On a farm in Ohio, American women led by Jane Dark practice all means of behavior modification in an attempt to attain complete stillness and silence. Witnessing (and subjected to) their cultish actions is one Ben Marcus, whose father, Michael Marcus, may be buried in the back yard, and whose mother, Jane Marcus, enthusiastically condones the use of her son for (generally unsuccessful) breeding purposes, among other things. Inventing his own uses for language, the author Ben Marcus has written a harrowing, hilarious, strangely moving, altogether engrossing work of fiction that will be read and argued over for years to come.

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Review: Notable American Women

User Review  - Matthew Peck - Goodreads

Ben Marcus's debut novel defies convention in form, style, and content. There's family ("Ben Marcus" and his parents) at the center, living on a farmhouse-turned-compound in a dystopian Akron. Mrs ... Read full review

Review: Notable American Women

User Review  - David - Goodreads

This is odd, but definitely intriguing. It's easier to penetrate than "The Age of Wire and String," though not as much as "The Flame Alphabet," but is perhaps almost as conceptually interesting ... Read full review

About the author (2002)

Ben Marcus is author of a novel, Notable American Women, to be published by Vintage in March, and a book of stories, The Age of Wire and String. Artspace Books will publish his collaboration with the painter Matthew Ritchie, The Father Costume.  He has published fiction in Harper's, McSweeney's, Grand Street, BOMB, Conjunctions, Fence and Tin House.

Before joining the faculty at Columbia University, where he is an assistant professor in the graduate writing program, he taught for three years at Brown. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, an NEA in fiction, and two Pushcart prizes. He is the fiction editor of Fence magazine, and he has reviewed books and written essays for Time magazine, Feed, The Village Voice, and Salon.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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