by Gloria Nagy
Haven’t we all read one horror story or another about someone…
…well, sort of like ourselves, suddenly cast into a nightmare situation that is way beyond our pampered, urban capabilities?
Every time there is a kidnapping of an innocent civilian, capture of a small boat couple by pirates, hostage situation and on, don’t we all think about how we might handle such an event, for which nothing in our daily lives has prepared us?
REMAIN CALM is the ultimate extension of that “what if”. This is a break neck, page-turning belly laugh of an adventure that turns a nightmare into a Marx Brothers level laugh fest of plot twists and the utterly un-PC and searing social satire for which Gloria Nagy has long been known.
This time, it’s all set in Mexico, combining what starts as a 10 day “soul-searching” retreat for Mimi Markow, escaping her New York City bubble, and encroaching sixtieth birthday; a husband who is having a torrid affair with his IPhone and Twitter account and kids who have drifted off into adulthood with not much time or room for mothers who do not text or tweet.
SO, against her better judgment (always a set-up for disaster), off she goes with her mysterious, glamorous French friend, Solange, to open herself to the land of other options at The Vaya Con Dios Spiritual Spa and Retreat; a la-la land filled entirely with various versions of themselves at prices fitting such desperation.
This hilarious, original tour de force takes Nagy’s scalding, clear-eyed view of life in the absolute present and pulls out all narrative stops. Fast, furious and laugh-out-loud funny, REMAIN CALM is a look at ourselves and the astonishing way life’s curve balls can turn what starts as utter terror into exactly what we need.
Nagy has been aptly compared to Tom Wolff and Woody Allen among others. Her ability to layer her work, combining literary illusion, keen reporting, wonderful story-telling and deep empathy, sadness and truth under the farce on the surface, puts her own stamp on this and her other work.
Covering everything from sex, seniors, salsa, and the stress of twenty-first century reality, here she just goes for it. This is a “poquito” novel, without a metaphor or narrative drive to spare.
Warning, if you read it on an airplane, take some of Mimi’s excess duct tape for your mouth. Laughing out loud mid-air is ill-advised.
If Laughter is the best medicine, Remain Calm is a cure for cancer, urban angst, a bad hair day and life in general. The healing power of laughing at ourselves, jammed into a fast, fearless and totally unpredictable plot, is a mental massage for the psyche. Just read it!!!!!”
—Melina Gerosa Bellows, Author, editor, contributor: Today, The View and USA Today
Fabulous entertainment . . . an essential summer read”
[Nagy is] “Lacerating, literate, funny” —Vogue
A stunning accomplishment . . . funny and sad, erotic and
ultimately very moving” —Gael Greene, New York Magazine
Hip, Hilarious, Heartbreaking” —Cosmopolitan
Nagy’s style is fresh, her pace brisk and her humor delightful.”
—Los Angeles Times