The extraordinary new novel from the acclaimed author of Bad Behavior and
Two Girls, Fat and Thin; Veronica is about flesh and spirit, vanity, mortality, and mortal affection. Set mostly in Paris and Manhattan in the desperately glittering 1980s, it has the timeless depth and moral power of a fairy tale.
As a teenager on the streets of San Francisco, Alison is discovered by a photographer and swept into the world of
fashion - modeling in Paris and Rome. When her career crashes and a love affair ends disastrously, she moves to New York City to build a new life. There she meets Veronicaan older wisecracking eccentric with her own ideas about style, a proofreader who comes to work with a personal
"office kit" and a plaque that reads "Still Anal After All These Years." Improbably, the two women become friends. Their friendship will survive not only Alison's reentry into the seductive nocturnal realm of fashion, but also Veronica's terrible descent into the then-uncharted realm of AIDS. The memory of their friendship will continue to haunt Alison years later, when she, too, is aging and ill and is questioning the meaning of what she experienced and who she became during that time.
Masterfully layering time and space, thought and sensation, Mary Gaitskill dazzles the reader with psychological insight and a mystical sense of the soul's hurtling passage through the world. A novel unlike any other,
Veronica is a tour de force about the fragility and mystery of human relationships, the failure of love, and love's abiding power. It shines on every page with depth of feeling and formal beauty.
The New York Times Sunday Book Review - Meghan O'Rourke
....Gaitskill is reaching further into her preoccupations than ever before, and the novel is full of very real pleasures. Her prose has a perfumed clarity. She tacks against the upright dichotomies of our historical moment - dichotomies that shape how we think and who we are but are often more contingent than we know. In
Veronica, as ever, Gaitskill's brand of brainy lyricism, of acid shot through with grace, is unlike anyone else's. And it constitutes some of the most incisive fiction writing around.
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
Mary Gaitskill's fierce, night-blooming new novel is about a close friendship between two women. But it should not be confused with anything cozy. Imagine a buddy story from the mind of William S. Burroughs, illustrated with images by Robert Mapplethorpe or David
Cronenberg, and you get some idea of the tenderness to be found here.....Beauty and ugliness do battle in
Veronica, not only within the minds of its tormented characters but also on the page. Ms. Gaitskill writes so radiantly about violent self-loathing that the very incongruousness of her language has shocking power.
A gorgeous, articulate novel that is at once an unflinching meditation on degradation and a paean to deliverance.
Publishers Weekly - Heidi Julavits
Starred Review. It is hard to convey the tragedy of a girl in the prime of her beauty who savors the ugly way she experiences herself; it is more wrenching, and more in keeping with the gimlet-eyed clarity of the book's earlier pages, to convey the tragedy of the truly ugly woman, who once, despite her demurrals and insecurities, knew beauty.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Starred Review. Gaitskill perfectly evokes the ambience of the 1970s and 1980s
... And, harmonizing with Jennifer Egan, Julie Hecht, and Amy Bloom, she zeros in on the vagaries of the mind as she considers beauty and disease, betrayal and loyalty, and fear and compassion in a raw-nerves novel that is at once elegiac, funny, and life affirming.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by disappointed to say the least! forced myself to read for book club disappointing to say the least! I read ALOT of books.
I had to pace myself with this abysmal excuse for a book by reading 4 others in between.
Sad, sorry, depressing and shallow are the words I use to describe my overarching takeaway messages. If she truly appreciated... Read More
Gaitskill is the author of 3
books, and many short stories
and essays (see below for
details). She was born in
Lexington, Kentucky in 1954,
attended the University of
Michigan (where she became a
born-again Christian at age 21,
but lapsed six-months later),
and has lived in Toronto, San
Francisco and Marin County,
California. She married
writer Peter Trachtenberg
in 2001 and
currently lives in New York.
She first tried to get her work
published when she was 23, but
it was not until over a decade
later in 1988 that she succeeded
with the short story
collection, Bad Behavior.
Her fiction typically
focuses on female characters
coping with inner conflicts,
Transcendent stories: about the uncertain gestures of love, about the betrayals and gifts of the body, about the surprises and bounties of the heart, and about what comes to us unbidden and what we choose.
A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.
These are 2 of the 9 readalike suggestions for Veronica. Members have full access to all readalikes. If you are a member, please login. To find out more about membership, click here.
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...