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Speed Queen, The

O'Nan, Stewart

889 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0385487010 / ISBN 13: 9780385487016
Published by Doubleday, New York, 1997
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Books First (Washington, DC, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First Edition, First Printing. An UNREAD copy in AS NEW condition, Black letters on white background on spine a bit mottled, as is frfequent with this volume and not a problem endemic to this volume. Signed by author on full title page in black fountain ink. O'Nan's first collection of stories, IN THE WALLED CITY, won the Drue Heinz Literary Prize. He is one of Granta's 20 Best Young American Novelists, and his other works include five other acclaimed novels: SNOW ANGELS, THE NAMES OF THE DEAD, A WORLD AWAY, WISH YOU WERE HERE, and THE NIGHT COUNTRY. Bookseller Inventory # 150100

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Speed Queen, The

Publisher: Doubleday, New York

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Why did I kill them?
I didn't kill them. I was there, but I didn't kill anyone.
I know exactly what happened, though. It's pretty boring, actually. It's pretty normal. I don't think people will be that interested. But if anyone can make it interesting, you can. You'll make it funny, too, which is right. Sometimes it was really funny. Even now some of it's funny.

Marjorie Standiford sits on Oklahoma's death row, hours away from execution, speaking into a tape recorder, telling her life story. She's answering questions about how she became the Speed Queen, one of the Sonic Killers--how mainlining speed with her husband Lamont and her lover Natalie grew into dealing, how dealing grew into robbery, and robbery into mass murder. She's telling her story because she wants to set the record straight, to correct the lies in Natalie's book, which became a bestseller.
Marjorie's book will be better. It will be written by a bestselling novelist.
Told in Marjorie's dreamy, bemused, unforgettable voice, The Speed Queen is a startling new work from a writer whose novels have been called "masterful" by the Washington Post and "stunning" by The New York Times. Set against a uniquely American landscape of fast-food joints and endless highways, and scored by the blare of the dashboard radio, it is a taut, violent, darkly comic story sure to expand exponentially the readership and renown of this uncommonly gifted novelist."

Review:

Stewart O'Nan's The Speed Queen opens on Oklahoma's death row. Marjorie Standiford, scheduled to die that night for the murder of 12 people, dictates the story of her life into a tape recorder. Before she goes, she wants to set the record straight. It seems that one of her accomplices, Natalie, has already produced a bestselling book on the subject, and Marjorie doesn't want to be outdone. Her tape will be sent to an unnamed writer known as the King of Horror with a list of titles identical to those of Stephen King.

It's evident why a horror writer might be interested in Marjorie's story--the details of her life are pretty darned horrifying. A deep love of cars is what attracts Marjorie to her husband, Lamont, in the first place; an unplanned pregnancy is what pushes them into marriage. In the early days of their love affair, driving around in Lamont's convertible with the baby in the back and doing a little speed on the side is enough, but possession leads to prison time for Marjorie. There she meets Natalie, who will complete their deadly triangle. Once on the outside, Natalie, Marjorie, and Lamont start mainlining speed, then dealing it, and before long, a landscape of drive-thru restaurants and convenience stores becomes the backdrop for a series of gruesome murders. Marjorie may not be the most reliable narrator, but she is an original one, and The Speed Queen provides one heck of a joy ride.

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