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Synopsis

Michaela is no saint.  Living alone in a decaying rust-belt city at the end of the twentieth century, her life completely adrift, she grudgingly attends her estranged mother’s funeral.  There she learns about the grisly murder of a local boy named Tony Zabelsky.  She becomes obsessed with his story and begins haunting the places he frequented until she meets his former lover, Eliza May Bradford.  Eliza has repudiated her wealthy family and now lives in a squatter’s commune with her and Tony’s child.  Michaela embarks on an almost hallucinatory journey through the ruined city and through the memories of Eliza and others who knew Tony Zabelsky.  Along the way, she learns who holds power in her city and how they treat those who do not.  Such unforgettable knowledge compels her to action. A dark literary fiction in the tradition of J. M. Coetzee and Don DeLillo, The Ecstasy of Michaela is at once a philosophical dialogue on the meaning of evil, an image-rich portrait of a country in decay, a political protest against the ravages that avarice and cruelty have unleashed on America’s cities, and a poetic character study of a woman who must find the resources to resist, in any way she can, the world’s crushing forces.

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