A few weeks ago I posted about my review of “The Big Girls,” Hawai`i-born author Susanna Moore‘s newest novel. It is often gruesome in its portrayal of women in prison and yet oddly hypnotic. The LA Times’ Susan Reynolds remarks similarly “Moore can be ferocious on the page, but her voice has an extremely cultured, sometimes beseeching quality.” Michiko Kakutani calls it “a brutal, troubling, often stomach-turning portrait of the denizens of that terrible place,” but also warns the “women … tend to blur together, leaving the reader feeling horrified and benumbed rather than genuinely moved.”

Last week the NY Times ran a Home & Garden piece on Moore–not her novel per se but her tattoos, work for Warren Beatty, and her collection of Japanese glass fishing floats. What I found most interesting, given not much is available on her personal life, is the description of her mother, which resembles, in reverse, that of Louise’s mother in “The Big Girls.”

The novel reveals Louise’s mother as “a sugar heiress from Honolulu…who knew that my father had married her for her money. … My mother did not behave like a rich woman, which was in the traditions of her missionary ancestors.” Compare to what Moore divulged to the Times’ writer:

“Ms. Moore’s father was a doctor, handsome and rich — not a particularly good father, Ms. Moore says, but very charming. Her mother’s mother was a lady’s maid who groomed her daughter to marry a rich man. She re-cut her mistress’s old Balenciaga suits so her daughter could wear them. When Ms. Moore’s father met her mother, he was completely misled, she said, and in that lay the tragedy. Her mother had a number of breakdowns and for a time was addicted to pills. When Ms. Moore was 12, her mother was found dead in bed. At 19, in 1965, Ms. Moore decided to come to New York.”

Read more on the Times’ site.
Photo linked to the Times’ article. Mahalo!

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