Agent—Melanie Jackson, The Melanie Jackson Agency, 41 W. 72nd St., New York, NY 10023.
Wavemaker II, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to literary journals, including Ploughshares, St. Ann's Review, Paris Review, and the Georgia Review.
Mary-Beth Hughes's novel Wavemaker II combines history and fiction to tell an emotional story of loyalty and relationships gone awry. The novel is set in the summer of 1964, and features the Clemens family, struggling due to their associations with Roy Cohn, the former defense attorney for Senator Joseph McCarthy. Will Clemens, the head of the family, is serving time in prison because he refused to testify against Cohn; son Bo has cancer and is bedridden in a New York hospital; daughter Lou-Lou, approaching her teenage years, founders unnoticed as her mother, Kay, struggles to deal with the crumbling family. Hughes chronicles each family member's experiences, rotating points of view to show how each of them is affected by Will's decisions and loyalty to Cohn. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews found Wavemaker II, "a consistently accomplished debut that's still hard to take because the family's anguish seems too little distinguished from the general social funk to provide much narrative energy." However, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly found that "Hughes's slice of mid-20th-century culture is fascinating, and her fictional recreation of the notorious Cohn, though many will find it implausible, is highly original." Beverly Lowry, writing for the New York Times Book Review, remarked that "Hughes is a writer of dexterity and imagination, with a great feel for sensory images."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2001, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Wavemaker II, p. 554.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2001, review of Wavemaker II, p. 1445.
Library Journal, February 1, 2002, Christine Perkins, review of Wavemaker II, p. 131.
New York Times Book Review, March 31, 2002, Beverly Lowry, review of Wavemaker II, p. 6; June 2, 2002, review of Wavemaker II, p. 25.
O, The Oprah Magazine, March, 2002, Lisa Shea, "Biblio: From Our Shelf to Yours," p. 132.
Ploughshares, spring, 2002, Fred Leebron, review of Wavemaker II, p. 199.
Publishers Weekly, November 26, 2001, review of Wavemaker II, p. 36.
BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (September 16, 2004), Sarah Goodrum, review of Wavemaker II.