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3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  65 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Salvation is the sometimes funny, sometimes eerie story of the coming of age of Crane Cavanaugh, a budding scientist. Crane narrates her early life with a rich awareness of the natural world and her own precarious spot in it. Raised below the poverty line in Arnold, Iowa, by depraved adults who’ve given up the life of charlatans on the gospel circuit, Crane’s first-person ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 28th 2008 by Tin House Books
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Oct 25, 2010 Margot rated it it was amazing
This book was beautifully written. It reminded me of My Happy Life, by Lydia Millet, which is one of my favorite books.

Crane is aware that her life is difficult, and as the book goes on, realizes that she and her siblings live differently than other people. Nevai does a great job of giving the reader more information as Crane grows up and encounters new people and situations.

Crane's life is dismal, but the book doesn't feel oppressive or depressing. It's streaked with dark humor, and the lovin
Karen Germain
Dec 29, 2010 Karen Germain rated it really liked it
Lucia Nevai’s “Salvation” is a story that is so depressing with such messed up characters that I just couldn’t put it down. The story is told from the point of view of Crane Cavanaugh, who was born despite a botched abortion attempt, to a mother who is a whore. Crane’s mother moves into a shack, where she becomes a squatter with a couple and their two children. This group becomes somewhat of a family that picks up odd jobs and preaches. The three children are forced to band together against a li ...more
Jul 11, 2008 Kevin rated it really liked it
Crane Cavanaugh, the central character in Lucia Nevai's novel Salvation, is the kind of character that will remind you to count your blessings; that as bad as things are they could be worse.

Crane's mother, a prostitute living with two former charlatan evangelists/revivalists, tried to end her life in the womb and fails to provide for her in almost every conceivable way after she survives. She lives, along with her half-siblings "Jima" and "Little Duck", in a squatters shack in rural Iowa trying
Dec 02, 2009 Mary rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although at first I wasn’t sure why. It is a gritty story of a girl raised in abject poverty in rural Iowa, along with her half-siblings. The parents are bizarre but oddly believable—a devout woman, a swindler-and-charlatan-preacher father, and a prostitute.

Crane’s life is mostly heartbreaking but throughout there is a sense of hope because one knows from the outset that she rises out of her disadvantaged situation. Probably this is why I liked it. In the end, it
May 02, 2010 Marvin rated it liked it
Shelves: midwest, religion
I picked this book because of its (central) Iowa setting, but I admit I was prepared to discount it because it's the typical coming-of-age-amid- extreme-dysfunction story, but it grew on me, especially in the second half, after our young narrator alternates between telling us about her doting adoptive mother's persistent attempts to "improve" her social, especially dating, life and accounts of her systematic scientific observations of ants. This stands out for its poetic writing, too, though unt ...more
Nov 24, 2009 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
Why hadn't I heard of this book? The author is not just someone who came to Iowa City and then throws in a mention of rolling farmland to prove they are part of the MFA club. This is a story by a real Iowan. Who makes rural Iowa a character like The Wire makes Baltimore the heart of the story. She's a wonderful writer; smart and original. It's a similar story to Glass Castle but so much more forgiving and beautiful.
Therese Walsh
Apr 26, 2009 Therese Walsh rated it it was amazing
Dark, luscious survival of the fittest tale, with each of three siblings surviving a brutally negligent upbringing in their own way. Little Duck survived through good looks. Jima survived through liquor and by being needed to help sustain her sister’s life. Crane survived through her intellect, which sometimes meant appearing dull-witted, though she was anything but. Highly recommended.
Jamie L
Aug 27, 2008 Jamie L rated it liked it
Although I have nothing bad to say about this book, I don't have much good to say either. It sort-of reminded me of a ghetto THE GLASS CASTLE.

Failed abortion leaves child disfigures. Parents are whacked and super poor. Child is brilliant and exceeds everyone's expectations.
Jan 08, 2009 Nalee rated it it was ok
This novel follows the life of the prodigious protagonist, Crane Cavanaugh. From her own conception to the birth of her career in the academic sciences, the reader ricochets from chuckles to incredulous empathy for Crane as she passively undergoes transformations.
Jul 16, 2011 Nikki rated it really liked it
I picked up this book off of a coffee table while on vacation at a beach house and couldnt put it down. It was so grueling and depressing but humerous at times...i just wanted more and more. I loved how Lucia Nevai began narrating as a newborn drug addicted baby.
Sep 17, 2014 Shabnam rated it liked it
Very strange start, but the middle gets really good and sucks you in. I was a tad bit disappointed by the end, but overall, it was worth the read.
Dec 17, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Though the way it quickly resolved at the end was off-putting. . .
Aug 30, 2009 Denice rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Smart, funny and compelling.
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