Zuravleff, Mary Kay 1960(?)–

views updated

Zuravleff, Mary Kay 1960(?)–

PERSONAL: Born c. 1960; married; children: two.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Farrar Straus Giroux, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003.

CAREER: Author. Sackler and Freer (art gallery), Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC, former editor.

AWARDS, HONORS: James Jones first novel fellowship, James Jones Literary Society, 1994, for The Frequency of Souls.


The Frequency of Souls (novel), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1996.

The Bowl Is Already Broken (short stories), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: An author and former editor, Mary Kay Zuravleff won the James Jones first novel fellowship for her novel The Frequency of Souls. The book tells the story of George, a design engineer for a refrigerator company whose somewhat outdated claim to fame is that he invented the ice maker. Then he meets Niagara, a new colleague at work who sparks a midlife crisis, endangering George's cozy family life with his wife, Judy, and children. Niagara sports a hearing aid, sews her own dresses—each the same style, just different colors—and believes in conversing with the dead. Soon George is helping her with her experiments in electricity.

James Jones Literary Society Web site reviewer Helen Howe called Zuravleff "very perceptive, witty, and entertaining as she delves into the farcical aspects of marriage and simple day-to-day living. She shows a genuine fondness for her characters and the reader experiences the same attitude." Writing for Booklist, Joanne Wilkinson remarked that "although the plot veers off the map on more than one occasion, Zuravleff's endearing lead characters and inventive blending of science and mysticism make this an especially appealing book." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly suggested that Zuravleff "too carefully rations offbeat traits one to a character," but overall called The Frequency of Souls an "impressive literary debut." And Maud Casey, reviewing the novel for Salon.com, commented that Zuravleff's "humor is generally right-on, despite a few sitcom moments,… and like the best comic novels, this one invites you to seriously entertain its strangest inventions." Casey described The Frequency of Souls as "smart and endearingly daffy."



Booklist, June 1, 1996, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Frequency of Souls, p. 1678.

Publishers Weekly, April 29, 1996, review of The Frequency of Souls, p. 50.


James Jones Literary Society Web site, http://www.jamesjoneslitsociety.vinu.edu/ (July 26, 2004), Helen Howe, "1994 Prize Winner Has Novel Published."

Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/ (July 26, 2004), Maud Casey, review of The Frequency of Souls.