“An engrossing and compassionate collection showing motherhood in its most unrelenting form.” — Kirkus (Starred Review)
Queen for a Day
By Maxine Rosaler
Long before there were real housewives or extreme makeovers there was the 1950s television show, Queen for a Day, where women trapped in domestic tragedy competed to win refrigerators and stainless steel silverware. This existential circus of irony is the inspiration for Maxine Rosaler’s QUEEN FOR A DAY (Delphinium Books; June 5, 2018), which examines imperfect women living under enormous pressure.
Mimi Slavitt always knew in the back of her mind the reason for her son Danny’s uncontrollable behavior—even if it was something that she and her husband had long denied. For too long she had comforted herself thinking their therapist was right when he said Danny didn’t have “anything you could pin a label on,” even after babysitters and nursery schools rejected him based on behaviors that were too wild. Now, after the official diagnosis of autism, Mimi finds herself in a world nearly as isolating as her son’s. It is a world she shares only with mothers like herself, women chosen against their will for lives of sacrifice and martyrdom.
Searching for miracles, begging for the help of heartless bureaucracies while arranging every minute of every day for children who can never be left alone, the women whose stories illuminate QUEEN FOR A DAY exist in a state of perpetual crisis, normal life always just out of reach. We meet these women, each a conflicted, complex character totally unsuited for sainthood and dreaming of the day they can just walk away. Rosaler tells their stories with remarkable humor and heart-wrenching pathos as they confront the bitter reality and confront the endless struggle to fight for a better life for their children—and themselves.
“Maxine Rosaler’s stories are both hard-edged and comic, laced with despair and hopeful against all expectation. New York City is the setting, a struggle to prosper in the face of bad choices and deeply ingrained perversity is the theme. Constant, however, is a narrative voice that proves irresistible, and a craftsman’s approach to the construction of these contemporary parables.”—C. Michael Curtis, Fiction Editor, The Atlantic
“I was both moved and impressed by this novel, and the intelligence and sympathy with which the author presents her afflicted characters.” — Alison Lurie, Pulitzer-prize winning author of Foreign Affairs and The Language of Houses
MAXINE ROSALER has had fiction and nonfiction published in The Southern Review, Glimmer Train, Witness, Fifth Wednesday, Green Mountains Review, The Baltimore Review and other literary magazines. She is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for Fiction. Her short stories have been cited in editions of Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays.
QUEEN FOR A DAY
Delphinium Books/Distributed by Harper Collins; June 5, 2018
$24.95 Hardcover/256 pages