From the author of Hild, a fierce and urgent autobiographical novel about a woman facing down a formidable foe
So Lucky is the sharp, surprising new novel by Nicola Griffith—the profoundly personal and emphatically political story of a confident woman forced to confront an unnerving new reality when in the space of a single week her wife leaves her and she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Mara Tagarelli is, professionally, the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation; personally, she is a committed martial artist. But her life has turned inside out like a sock. She can’t rely on family, her body is letting her down, and friends and colleagues are turning away—they treat her like a victim. She needs to break that narrative: build her own community, learn new strengths, and fight. But what do you do when you find out that the story you’ve been told, the story you’ve told yourself, is not true? How can you fight if you can’t trust your body? Who can you rely on if those around you don’t have your best interests at heart, and the systems designed to help do more harm than good? Mara makes a decision and acts, but her actions unleash monsters aimed squarely at the heart of her new community.
This is fiction from the front lines, incandescent and urgent, a narrative juggernaut that rips through sentiment to expose the savagery of America’s treatment of the disabled and chronically ill. But So Lucky also blazes with hope and a ferocious love of self, of the life that becomes possible when we stop believing lies.
This affecting autobiographical novel from Griffith (Hild) recounts a proud and independent woman's struggle to lead a meaningful life despite a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Mara Tagarelli, the executive director of the nonprofit Georgia AIDS Partnership, is still dealing with her wife's ending their 14-year marriage when she gets the shocking news that she has relapsing-remitting MS, which is exacerbated by stress. After Mara circulates a budget with some inappropriate language she includes by accident, she's asked to step down from her position. Suddenly with too much time on her hands, Mara uses her familiarity with big pharma's misleading advertising to determine what medication might actually benefit her. A bad experience at a support group for people with MS leads Mara to create a new organization, the Cripples Action Team, "a flexible task force with an active, evolving mission to help disabled people help ourselves." While a subplot involving crimes against the disabled could have been dispensed with, the end product is a plausible warts-and-all portrayal of a person unwilling to let herself be defined by her illness. Anyone who's ever struggled with medical adversity will be inspired.