Told from the perspectives of prisoners, victims, and staff, Kushner’s stunning depiction of a women’s prison centers on Romy Hall, twenty-nine and serving two life sentences for killing her stalker. Because she worked as a lap dancer, her public defender believed she’d hurt her case if she testified, so her story never came out in court. That’s just one of many outrages Romy is helpless to address. Worse is discovering she’s lost parental rights to her seven-year-old. Even so, the knowledge that her son exists is Romy’s life line. He gives her courage to endure, and even to plan a kind of future—even in the age of mass incarceration, which, the prisoners note, has made prison more horrifying than it was before.
The Mars Room - Rachel Kushner