Losing a friend can be as painful and as agonizing as a divorce
or the end of a love affair, yet it is rarely written about or
even discussed. The Friend Who Got Away is the first book to
address this near-universal experience, bringing together the
brave, eloquent voices of writers like Francine Prose, Katie
Roiphe, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Strout, Ann Hood, Diana Abu
Jabar, Vivian Gornick, Helen Schulman, and many others. Some
write of friends who have drifted away, others of sudden
breakups that took them by surprise. Some even celebrate their
liberation from unhealthy or destructive relationships. Yet at
the heart of each story is the recognition of a loss that will
never be forgotten.
From stories about friendships that dissolved when one person revealed a hidden self or moved into a different world, to tales of relationships sabotaged by competition, personal ambition, or careless indifference, The Friend Who Got Away casts new light on the meaning and nature of women's friendships. Katie Roiphe writes with regret about the period in her life when even close friends seemed expendable compared to men and sex. Mary Morris reveals how a loan led to the unraveling of a lifelong friendship. Vivian Gornick explores how intellectual differences eroded the bond between once inseparable companions. And two contributors, once best friends, tell both sides of the story that led to their painful breakup.
Written especially for this anthology and touched with humor, sadness, and sometimes anger, these extraordinary pieces simultaneously evoke the uniqueness of each situation and illuminate the universal emotions evoked by the loss of a friend.
My memory of Stella, at nineteen, is neither as crisp nor as
detailed as it should be. It's only with a tremendous effort of
will that I can bring her into focus at all. She is wearing a
complicated black outfit that looks like rags pinned together
with safety pins, and black stockings, with deliberate runs
laddering her legs. Her skin is translucent, the color of skim
milk, and her matted, dyed blond hair looks about as plausibly
human as the hair of a much loved doll. Under her eyes are
extravagant circles, plum colored and deep. She always looks
haggard. No one that age looked haggard the way she looked
haggard. And yet, as one came to know her, that was part of her
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