Mary Morris's first book, the short story collection Vanishing Animals, was widely nailed by critics as one of the most distinguished recent debuts by a fiction writer. The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters recognized her achievement with a citation and the coveted Rome Prize in Literature. Here, in her first novel, Mary Morris continues to fulfill her great promise, giving to her readers a compassionate story of good romance and bad timing, a novel of ordinary circumstance gone awry told with an extraordinary talent that is right on target.
Deborah Mills is an urban planner: an expert in traffic, a specialist in roads. At work she can plan for millions of people, but her own life seems to be a muddle. Her seven-year marriage falls apart when her husband tells her he is having an affair with one of her oldest friends. Stunned and angry, she haltingly begins her funny, bittersweet attempt to put her wrecked marriage behind her and start life anew. When her brother Zap, the family renegade, motorcycles back into her life, his reappearance causes Deborah to see how the residue of the past leaves its indelible mark on present events. Inevitably, she must set a new course: enter into new involvements and arrive at a new and encompassing autonomy. At a friend's country house she meets Sean, an assistant film director who looks strikingly like Robert De Niro. He advances, she retreats, and the questions begin. What direction should her future take? Is it too early or too late to begin all over again?
Crossroads is a novel about how one woman goes from being tossed about by fate to taking command of her own life. Joyce Carol Oates has praised Mary Morris's fiction as "beautifully crafted." Rosellen Brown has found her work "full of unexpected invention and sudden, almost offhand plunges toward a mysterious center." With Crossroads, Mary Morris gives her admirers a new chance to celebrate.