•Starred review in Publishers Weekly
•Included in Real Simple‘s roundup of The Best Books of 2018.
Ultraviolet centers on Kathryn—the daughter of Elsie and mother of Samantha—while illuminating the lives of three generations of women, each more independent than the last. Their stories open in 1930s India, then span eighty years and two continents to examine the complexities of marriage, motherhood, aging, and the end of life. Suzanne Matson recognizes both the drama that is within every existence and the strengths and fragilities of our relationships with others.
Catapult, 2018 (Hardcover), 248 pp., ISBN 978-1-936787-95-1
“Unostentatious yet intricate. . . Domestic scenes emit blasts of emotional life, as the women grapple with the ‘swooning collapse and then the expanding distance’ between their interior lives and the outside world.”—The New Yorker
“Fascinating and stirring. . . Matson glides through her characters’ lives in almost self-contained chapters punctuated by explosions of burnished emotion. . . . Readers will latch onto the unforgettable characters of this accomplished saga of the shifting personal and historical complications of American womanhood.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This gorgeous novel examines the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship.” —Real Simple.
“This sprawling, beautiful novel follows the lives of three generations of women . . . It’s an emotional, poignant look at the ways in which our dreams for ourselves often fall apart, and how even lives that seem quietly lived are filled with profound meaning.” —NYLON, 1 of 12 Great New Books to Read This September
“Fans of Anne Tyler and Geraldine Brooks will enjoy the intertwined, intergenerational narratives; historical details; and emotional depth of this engrossing novel.” —Booklist
“Matson’s chapters, each of which jumps forward in time, conclude with an especially poignant reflection on aging, as Samantha cares for her dying mother in her final days. This is a stoic view of mother-daughter love: an unsentimental reflection on both the tribulations and the importance of filial connection.” —Kirkus Reviews
“From its wonderful opening in 1930s India, Suzanne Matson’s beautifully accurate and illuminating Ultraviolet follows the fates of three generations of American women along the shifting borders of safety and freedom. As time carries them past risks and refuges, the reader is left with a shimmering sense of lives lived.” —Joan Silber, author of Improvement
“Capacious, unsentimental and yet forgiving, Ultraviolet brings us both the intimacy of women’s lives and their trajectories across continents and generations. This is Suzanne Matson at her wisest and deepest—wonderful.” —Gish Jen, author of The Girl at the Baggage Claim
“Acutely, elegantly, Suzanne Matson traces her characters’ paths from the hills of colonial India to the suburban American West to the dislocated excesses of an Alaskan cruise ship. Here are the women in a family and the impact they have—or fail to have—on one another. And here, in the silences between vivid moments, we see how years pass, how lives pass, how a century passes.” —Joan Wickersham, author of The News from Spain and The Suicide Index.