Fiona Range

Morris, Mary McGarry

Published by Penguin Books, 2001
ISBN 10: 0141001844 / ISBN 13: 9780141001845
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Synopsis: Abandoned by her young mother, unsure of her father's identity, and raised by her prominent aunt and uncle near Boston, thirty-year-old Fiona Range has developed a high threshold for emotional pain. Her recklessness, generosity, and poor judgment have landed her in more scrapes than her affluent family-or small-town community-can tolerate. Beautiful, volatile and smart-tongued (or trashy, erratic, and wild, depending on whom you ask), Fiona hits rock bottom after she ends a party with a strange man in her bed. Alienated from relatives and friends but determined to change, Fiona turns to the men in her life-among them, cruel and unstable Patrick Grady, who denies she is his daughter. The arrival home of her gentle cousin Elizabeth with fiance in tow sparks a storm where past mistakes and current passions collide.

Review: Fiona Range often feels cursed. At 30 she is an odd--or perhaps not so odd--combination of sentimentality, irritability, and promiscuity. Mary McGarry Morris's heroine lives on the outskirts of Boston and works at a diner. She grew up in the household of her uncle, a prominent judge. But although she was raised in privilege, she was always treated as the charity case--the abandoned child of a beautiful crazy woman who "drove off weeping one rainy afternoon, never to return."

Fiona dwells on this original abandonment. She thinks about it when she wakes up with strange men, when she gets too drunk and sad, when all the people in town start to resemble sharks, preying on her. She keeps getting involved with bad men, and as the novel opens, she has been kicked out of her uncle's house after her boyfriend's arrest for selling drugs. Fiona Range is the story of her attempts to clean her life up, find love in the midst of loneliness and confusion, and find balance in the midst of seemingly insurmountable emotional chaos.

Morris (author of Songs in Ordinary Time) skillfully paints Fiona as a woman toughened by loneliness. Often she feels that she is beyond pain as a result of all she has endured: "Fiona Range's teeth had been filled without novocaine, her wounds stitched without anesthesia, her heart broken too many times to count. Once as a child she fell from a tree and broke her arm but didn't tell her aunt until hours later when her favorite show had ended." Yet while she is often invulnerable, she is also fragile and needy. In Morris's skillful hands Fiona comes vibrantly to life--a crabby, lusty woman who hopes the fates will give her a break. --Ellen Williams

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Title: Fiona Range
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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