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Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  19 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Winner of the Gival Press Novel Award

A violent and unusual crime is committed in a frankly imagined rural Texas of 1936: two ranchers attempt to castrate a neighbor under circumstances deriving from standard gender and social relations. The daughter of prominent landowners, regarded as the cause of this crime, is outcast from home and family, rescued by clergy in the role
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Paperback, 200 pages
Published October 5th 2015 by Gival Press (first published October 1st 2015)
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Judith Newton
Jan 14, 2016 Judith Newton rated it it was amazing
“A young woman climbing out of an old Essex in a cloche hat and a flowered maroon rummage-sale dress in front of the Prince Carl County courthouse, that’s what some observers will remember . . . part of her fascination, escorted and left waiting in the lemony light of the October morning, is that she seems almost in custody . . . she is the trial’s most intriguing spectacle, the origin of the crime, the modest, obedient, well-regarded woman taken in adultery.”


Thus begins Elizabeth Harris’s elega
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Michelle Lancaster
Mar 07, 2015 Michelle Lancaster rated it really liked it
Fiction
Elizabeth Harris
Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman
Arlington, VA: Gival Press
Paperback, 9781940724003; ebook, 9781940724010
Page count and price TBA
October 5, 2015


Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman by Elizabeth Harris, winner of the 2014 Gival Press Novel Award, is unconventional historical fiction spanning the years from the 1920s to the 1950s in a fictional Central Texas settled by German immigrants in the nineteenth century. Alternating between delighting you with pastoral descriptions of the Hi
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Kristine Hall
I have never before read a book like Mayhem, and it’s nearly impossible to describe what sets it apart. Reading it is like opening a set of nesting dolls, one after the other, never quite knowing which doll will be the last in the set. When you finally get to that last doll in the set, despite knowing it’s coming, there is still some surprise. This is Mayhem.

Initially, I had some trouble getting into the cadence of the writing, and I found that I was in turn frustrated and delighted by it. This
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Carolyn Haley
Mar 29, 2015 Carolyn Haley rated it really liked it
Originally published in New York Journal of Books
http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-...


This is a book you have to slow down and pay attention to, because there’s a lot going on. Layers of story. Complex characterization. Rich details of time and place.

The title is our guide to what to expect: mayhem. But it’s not the loud and drastic kind; rather, except for one event, it’s the insidious kind that arises from breaking the rules of a strict society.

During the early 1900s in southern Texas, a ti
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Angie Mangino
Oct 07, 2015 Angie Mangino rated it it was amazing
Mayhem
By Elizabeth Harris
2015
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 5 stars

http://elizabethharriswriter.com/events

Evelyn Kunkle was born in 1909, married Lester Gant, Jr. in 1927, and lived in Central Texas. Immediately the author introduces readers to her.

“A young woman climbing out of an old Essex in a cloche hat and a flowered maroon rummage sale dress in front of the Prince Carl County courthouse, that’s what some observers will remember – and everything they knew about her at the time.”

Readers,
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Heather Clitheroe
Nov 18, 2015 Heather Clitheroe rated it liked it
A deeply layered book, and one that I would tend to characterize as a writer's book. There are strains of Italo Calvino running through it. For all that it is framed as historical fiction, there is a distinct postmodern voice throughout...which, in a way, reflects the pastiche of a narrator telling a story she has been told, but who also acknowledges that she is also a fictional creation.

The technique wavers; at times, incredibly powerful with the opportunity for insight. At others, a feeling o
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Kelli
Sep 08, 2016 Kelli rated it liked it
I have never read a book quite like Mayhem. It started off a bit intimidating with the introduction of so many separate families and how they each played a role in each others life. I was scared how I was going to keep track of them all. Some were not so friendly to one another and it explained how they kept their distance from each other and some made a point to even marry into families to keep the neighborly respect.

This story was told in the past tense, which is my least favorite point of vie
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Jervia
Nov 08, 2015 Jervia rated it really liked it
Interesting writing style, capturing the dialect of another era. Also, the author actually speaks as herself a few times in the midst of the story. The characters are well-representative of many Texas farm communities. The plot line pictures the stark reality of how very different the roles and viewpoints of men and women were in the twenties and thirties. The subordination of women is at the forefront of the writing. However, the key event, a split-second lapse of judgment, presents a timeless ...more
Elizabeth Schultz
Nov 20, 2015 Elizabeth Schultz rated it it was amazing
I just finished MAYHEM and am still breathless. So many things to be impressed by: the author’s detailed and evocative depiction of 1930s Texas, characters who ring completely true for their time and place, the way she depicts the multiple ramifications of actions and decisions -- including those that, in the making, didn't rise to the level of conscious choice.
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Oct 08, 2015
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Winner of the 2014 Gival Press Fiction Award, Elizabeth Harris is a native Texan who grew up in Ft. Worth. She won the John Simmons Prize, awarded by University of Iowa Press, for her first book, "The Ant Generator", a collection of stories praised for their “sense of wonder, comedy and acid-etched existentialism.” Those and uncollected stories appeared in Antioch Review, Epoch, Chicago Review, No ...more
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