Mary Gordon is the author of nine novels, including There Your Heart Lies, Final Payments, Pearl, and The Love of My Youth; six works of nonfiction, including the memoirs The Shadow Man and Circling My Mother; and three collections of short fiction, including The Stories of Mary Gordon, which was awarded the Story Prize. In her novel Payback (Pantheon), she tells the story of Quin Archer, the revenge-loving queen of the reality-TV show PAYBACK. She was once an angry teen named Heidi. Her true story may be known only to Agnes, her art teacher at a private New England girls’ school in the 1970s. Agnes, then a young woman herself, suggests Heidi visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She returns with a disastrous account of having been picked up at the museum and assaulted by an older man. Agnes’s unsympathetic response will change both women’s lives. Gordon takes us through Heidi’s reinvention as Quin, and Agnes’s guilt and escape into career and family – until they meet again for Heidi’s payback.
In a starred review Publishers Weekly called it “Excellent . . . Contrasts the 1970s world of upper-class women’s education with the #MeToo era . . . Gordon nails period details and vividly describes her characters’ worlds […]. This mesmerizing novel hits hard.”