Publisher: Liveright. October 11, 2016.
Genre: Literary Fiction
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Leah is living in Queens with a possessive husband she doesn’t love and a long list of unfulfilled ambitions, when she’s jolted from a thick ennui by a call from the past. Her beloved former boss and friend, Judy, has died in a car accident and left Leah her most prized possession and, as it turns out, the instrument of Judy’s death: a red sports car.
Judy was the mentor Leah never expected. She encouraged Leah’s dreams, analyzed her love life, and eased her into adulthood over long lunches away from the office. Facing the jarring disconnect between the life she expected and the one she is now actually living, Leah takes off for San Francisco to claim Judy’s car. In sprawling days defined by sex, sorrow, and unexpected delight, Leah revisits past lives and loves in search of a self she abandoned long ago. Piercing through Leah’s surreal haze is the enigmatic voice of Judy, as sharp as ever, providing wry commentary on Leah’s every move. -Goodreads
The Red Car was totally not what I expected. Honestly, the publisher blurb makes it sound like a borderline Eat Pray Love journey of self discovery featuring a constant soundtrack of Natasha Bedingfield. Luckily for us, that is SO not what this book is. It is much weirder than that. If you like the straight forward, quirky, honest sense of humor of Miranda July and/or the sparse, powerful writing of Lydia Davis, this is the book for you. And that's exactly why it was the book for me.
The mechanic leaned over and tried to kiss me.
I took a step away. I realized I was in a high place. I could actually fall. I sadly shook my head. It seemed unfair. After Lea. After Diego. But I did not want to kiss the mechanic.
"A guy has to try," he said.
"No, you don't," I said quiety.
I don't want to say much about the plot. Leah had a boss who she had a close bond with, then Leah moved away. Her boss, Judy, wanted her to succeed. Leah ends up married to an awful guy who seems benign and she is mostly complacent. She hadn't spoken to Judy in years, and one day she is shocked to find out that Judy is dead. And Judy left her the red car that she loved and that Leah hated (also the car that Judy died in), in addition to something else. A thing happens that makes Leah 100% decide to fly to San Francisco by herself. And then some weird stuff goes down. I WISH I could say more, but I can't. Just know that it is a tightly written story and a quick, enjoyable read. I laughed a lot, I also cried. It's dark. And, again, it's WEIRD. There were some sexy times in the book which is normally horrifying for me (I'm not a prude at all, but sex scenes make me blush too much), but it was done perfectly and never felt gratuitous.
The writing is the best part of this book, and I don't mean that in a bad way like as if other things were lacking. I mean that it was well written on all fronts. Real emotion and thought was evoked. Intelligent, contemporary, and completely on point. I need to read every other word Marcy Dermansky has ever written.