BURST by Mary Otis - Spotlight


Mary Otis' novel, BURST (ZibbyBooks) is a powerful story about how we become—and unbecome—our mothers, how we absorb the past, and how we burst into our own futures. But before we even start reading the story, look at this beautiful cover - a celebration of beauty, so on point with the book.

Viva has always found ways to manage her mother’s impulsive, eccentric, and addictive personality. She’s had to—for her entire life, it has always been Viva and Charlotte against the world. 

After accidentally discovering an innate ability for dance, Viva chases her new passion with the same fervor with which her mother chases the bottle. Over the years, Viva’s talent becomes a ticket to a life of her own, and as she moves further away from home to pursue her dream, Charlotte struggles to make peace with her own past as a failed artist and the effects of her addiction. When tragedy strikes, Viva begins a downward spiral and must decide whether she will repeat her mother’s mistakes or finally take control of her life. 

Told from interwoven perspectives, BURST reveals a beautiful relationship between mother-daughter.

Mary Otis is the author the short story collection, Yes, Yes, Cherries (Tin House Books).

Her stories and essays have been published in Best New American VoicesElectric Literature, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and in many literary journals and anthologies. She has recently published poetry in Zyzzyva along with poems forthcoming in the Bennington Review. Her story "Pilgrim Girl" received an Honorable Mention for the Pushcart Prize, and her story "Unstruck" was a Distinguished Story of the Year in Best American Short Stories. She was a Walter Dakin Fellow and received a Getty Foundation Scholarship.

She has taught fiction in the UCLA Writers’ Program and served as a Mentor in the Mark Program for PEN. Mary attended Bennington College and was a founding fiction professor in the UC Riverside Low-Residency MFA Program where she taught for twelve years.

Originally from the Boston area, Mary lives in Los Angeles.



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