Debra Monroe has written a novel that tells the funny, poignant story of a woman’s quest for a physical and emotional home. The protagonist, Maidie Bonasso, is on the road—moving from state to state, job to job, from one circle of intimates another, seeking new options and new connections. Maidie’s mother has been missing since 1974. When Maidie left her childhood home in the name of Self-Improvement—a better life—she left behind a father, two sisters who married indistinguishable husbands in a double ceremony, and an ex-stepmother. She hasn’t seen any of them in years. Maidie has one ex-husband in Nebraska, another in Virginia, as well as a host of former neighbors and co-workers who occupy her memory like a Greek chorus. Her psychic baggage alone could fill up a moving van. Just when Maidie is ready to wrench herself free from her latest gig—her job as curator of The Museum of Domestic History and Home Economy—and leave behind a devoted boyfriend and a cluster of quirky, spiteful, loyal friends, she receives a phone call that sends her on yet another journey, offering her the chance to reject or embrace her disconnected, interrupted past. In Newfangled, a woman who’s afraid of knowing anyone very well for very long suddenly finds herself imagining what life would be like if she were to take a chance, to stay.
Intelligent … deliciously wacky … quite entertaining.
Newfangled is suffused with love for humanity, especially for those fools of us who may identify as panting fumblers in the service of love. If you don’t already know the work of Debra Monroe, get thee hence and remedy your lack.
—Tom Doyal, Austin Chronicle
In a novel laden with trenchant notes on our new world, Debra Monroe offers us a lively quest—a woman caught between the romantic and the semantic evaluates all the fangled possibilities for human connection.