“Monica Starkman offers a penetrating look at the drastic capabilities of the obsessed mind. Written beautifully and carefully, at just the right pace, The End of Miracles is a thoroughly compelling piece of work.”
—Roger Rosenblatt, New York Times bestselling author, literary editor of The New Republic, essayist for Washington Post and Time magazine
“The End of Miracles is a compelling, empathic novel about a woman whose desperate wish for a child vividly evokes the pain and longing associated with infertility and builds to a climax worthy of a thriller.”
—Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Author of Single Jewish Male Seeking Soul Mate and founding editor of Ms Magazine
“Starkman, a prominent psychiatrist, beautifully captures one woman’s journey through depression in this superbly well-written and gripping first novel, which powerfully reveals the complexity and strength of the human mind.”
“For Margo Kerber, the novel’s stoic and sensitive protagonist, the path to motherhood has been troubled from the start. An unexpectedly joyful pregnancy (is) followed by a miscarriage. Afterward, when Margo’s body produces false pregnancy symptoms and cruelly tricks her again, it is clear that she’s been driven to a breaking point. Margo’s collapse, unraveling, and gradual recovery bring a conclusion of forgiveness and hope. Best of all is Starkman’s portrait of Margo―a flawed yet admirably strong victim of circumstance and biology who refuses to be a victim anymore.”
“Interesting, realistic, exciting, moving. I strongly recommend it.”
—Harriette Simpson Arnow, author of The Dollmaker, and finalist for Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award
“A powerful and emotionally gripping novel by one of the great psychosomatic medicine psychiatrists of our time. Highly recommended for all those fascinated by psychiatric illness, treatment, and the impact relationships can have on healing.”
—Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., Past President of American Psychiatric Association
“Monica Starkman’s The End of Miracles is as cinematic as it is suspenseful.”
—Rochel Urist, award-winning playwright
SH- 5.0 out of 5 stars - "Couldn't put it down"
Literary is a genre that is difficult to define, but we’ll give it a shot anyway. They’re books that make you want to submerge yourself in the words, to peel back the layers and examine each one. They’re captivating stories that stay with the reader long after the final page has been turned.
However you define literary, we think you’ll agree that these selections from our Summer 2016 edition more than qualify. Feel free to stay as long as you want as you browse these reviews of new independently published literary fiction.
Best of all is Starkman’s portrait of Margo—a flawed yet admirably strong victim of circumstance and biology who refuses to be a victim anymore.
Monica Starkman’s novel The End of Miracles focuses on one woman’s longing to conceive—a primal, nurturing desire that somehow goes terribly wrong.
For Margo Kerber, the novel’s stoic and sensitive protagonist, the path to motherhood has been troubled from the start. Consultations with a fertility specialist leave Margo and her husband feeling like lab animals—studied, poked, and prodded—their sexual relations now “controlled by doctor, date, and a woman’s monthly rhythm.”
Margo endures these procedures because she is a hospital administrative professional and is well aware of how modern medicine can create miracles. Her doctor praises her for her diligence and her “painstakingly kept” cycle charts. Yet when the treatments continue to fail, Margo is advised to accept the fact that she may never naturally bear a child and to consider other options.
Margo’s paradoxical nature is integral to The End of Miracles. She alternates between calm efficiency and intense emotion, along with feelings of inadequacy that are made worse by the constant focus on her “barren” womb. She wakes from dreams of a tide of tiny infants rushing from her mouth, haunted by babies even in her sleep. Margo’s need for composure is soon tested, however, by an unexpectedly joyful pregnancy followed by a miscarriage.
Starkman’s measured plot builds effectively to this catastrophic event. Clinical details underscore the drama of Margo’s late-term miscarriage—her premature labor is long and painful, with just enough possibility for the baby’s survival to make the ultimate loss all the more heartbreaking. Afterward, when Margo’s body produces false pregnancy symptoms and cruelly tricks her again, it is clear that she’s been driven to a breaking point.
Margo’s collapse, unraveling, and gradual recovery bring The End of Miracles to a conclusion of forgiveness and hope. A psychiatrist, the author has a decided slant toward the power of psychotherapy, but her professional experience also adds technical depth and emotional breadth to the novel. And best of all is Starkman’s portrait of Margo—a flawed yet admirably strong victim of circumstance and biology who refuses to be a victim anymore.
MEG NOLA (May 27, 2016)