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Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky

Bad Marie by Marcy DermanskyI picked up Bad Marie after reading a string of recommendations, and I’m afraid to say, never having previously heard of its American author Marcy Dermansky, but in the end I’m so glad I listened to those singing its praises. What an utterly compelling, sexy, darkly humorous and totally dysfunctional little novel this is!

Published last year by Harper Perennial, this is one I can’t urge too strongly that you should add to your reading list.

Read on for a full review…

-- Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky a Review by Des Greene --

If you’re not the sort of person to be intrigued by the opening line “Sometimes, Marie got a little drunk at work.” then maybe this review is not for you. That line had me hooked from the outset, and rather set the tone for the rest of the novel.

Marie has just been released from a six year prison sentence which has rather undeservedly consumed a large chunk of her twenties. At thirty she is really only learning to be an independent adult, and she appears to be having serious difficulties to say the least.

Marie is taken on by an old friend as a baby-sitter, but in place of gratitude she embarks on a course of theft, seduction, kidnap and worse. Any reader, any human being, with a heart and a modicum of common sense should dislike her, but you just can’t. This is largely because however bad Marie is, those around her are often worse; more snobbish, more affected, less caring and less likeable. So as a reader I found myself rooting for her, and hoping things come good. Basically, she doesn’t give a shit; and I think that there is a little part in all of us that wishes we could be like her at least to some extent.

The story is delivered in a straightforward, but rhythmical prose; it is darkly humorous, but never in a way that plays for laughs, rather it just serves up the vaguely ridiculous for you to find your own level of amusement. It is a short novel, and at first I felt a little cheated at the rather abrupt ending. However, when I gave it some more thought, the book’s ending actually offers almost perfect symmetry with its beginning, and like the best food, there is always something tantalising about being left wanting just a little more.

Marcy Dermansky’s first novel Twins was published back in 2005, I hope she doesn’t leave it that long to follow up Bad Marie as I for one am looking forward to reading more of her work. Thoroughly excellent stuff!

Already read Bad Marie? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

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