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Machine: Book summary and reviews of Machine by Susan Steinberg

Machine

by Susan Steinberg

Machine by Susan Steinberg X
Machine by Susan Steinberg
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  • Published Aug 2019
    144 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

A haunting story of guilt and blame in the wake of a drowning, the first novel by the author of Spectacle.

Susan Steinberg's first novel, Machine, is a dazzling and innovative leap forward for a writer whose most recent book, Spectacle, gained her a rapturous following. Machine revolves around a group of teenagers―both locals and wealthy out-of-towners―during a single summer at the shore. Steinberg captures the pressures and demands of this world in a voice that effortlessly slides from collective to singular, as one girl recounts a night on which another girl drowned. Hoping to assuage her guilt and evade a similar fate, she pieces together the details of this tragedy, as well as the breakdown of her own family, and learns that no one, not even she, is blameless.

A daring stylist, Steinberg contrasts semicolon-studded sentences with short lines that race down the page. This restless approach gains focus and power through a sharply drawn narrative that ferociously interrogates gender, class, privilege, and the disintegration of identity in the shadow of trauma. Machine is the kind of novel―relentless and bold―that only Susan Steinberg could have written.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Steinberg writes prose with a poet's sense of meter and line, and a velocity recalling the novels of Joan Didion. The result is a dizzying work that perfectly evokes the feeling of spinning out of control." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Steinberg's observations of the delicate workings of interpersonal relationships are astute...Heartbreaking, eerie, and acutely observant." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Otherworldly, and every-other-line sublime, Machine reads like the text messages Laura Palmer might send back from the Black Lodge. It's a timely reminder of why our culture remains haunted by dead girls, and of the different ways we find to drown them." - Bennett Sims

"Machine is an astonishment...Another breakthrough for modern fiction." - Sam Lipsyte

"Susan Steinberg is a conventions-defying, form-innovating wizard of a writer, and I already can't wait to reread her newest book, Machine. Unique, astounding, and terribly and splendidly moving, this novel is a revelation." - R. O. Kwon

This information about Machine was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Susan Steinberg

Susan Steinberg is the author of Spectacle, Hydroplane, and The End of Free Love. She is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and a Pushcart Prize. She teaches at the University of San Francisco.

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