On her last trip to New York with her mother, she'd been fitted for a new formal, one that was older and more sophisticated than she'd ever worn before; it was smoke and silver, princess length, quite low cut, and she didn't want to wear it-would have preferred to revert to her jeune fille Cinderella persona-but she didn't have any choice; she couldn't very well get another one made at this late date. Preparing to do her makeup, looking in the mirror at her freshly scrubbed, bare skin, she saw a sad, tired girl who wanted to stay home with a book. Maybe if I put on lots and lots of makeup, she thought, just gobs of it, nobody will be able to see me at all.
Gloria has all the Traina-Norell dresses and Ben Zuckerman suits a girl could ask for. She is a prom queen, a popular sorority girl-class of '57. Her father is vice president of a steel company and her mother is a society matron. Gloria is attractive, popular, and pinned-engaged to be engaged. So why is she so dissatisfied? A story set in John O'Hara territory, Gloria is a vivid portrayal of the class structure of America in that era and of the assumptions concerning gender that underlay society. It is about friendship, loyalty, sexuality, and love, and the dynamics of Gloria's family. But mostly it is about Gloria and her last summer at home before setting out for the larger world that she longs to engage.
Reminiscent of Carnal Knowledge and By Love Possessed, this is the story of a young woman whose courage, intellectual integrity, and creative gifts defy expectations.
. . . An amazing feat, a faithful re-creation of history, a delicate portrayal of character and a rousing narrative that never lags.
A disconcerting rendering of the glaring absurdities of the '50s country-club set, the book is a surprising blend of literary references and snatches of modern poetry with a narrative style that aptly reflects the times.
Cecelia Holland, author of Great Maria
Like a mating of Proust and 'Cosmopolitan'...from its superwoman heroine with her gorgeous clothes and overstuffed mind, to the wild exuberance of its story -- I loved it!
Anne Tolstoi Wallach, author of Women's Work
'Gloria' plunges us into the 1950s women's world--when girls cinched their waistlines and their brains--so truly that those who were there will be amazed they survived and everyone else will know why the 60s had to happen.
Eden Robinson, author of Traplines
'Gloria' is an intimate, sexy portrait drawn with the luminous precision one has come to expect of Keith Maillard. Brooding, powerful and lush, the deftly created characters in this book inhabit mental landscapes as hot and dark as their Raysburg summer nights. Immensely readable.
Marion Meade, author of The Unruly Life of Woody Allen A Biography
'Gloria' is a tour de force--ambitiously conceived, vividly imagined, stylistically elegant. Even so, it gave me a bad case of the shivers. Having lived through--and survived--the 50s, a young woman similar in age to Gloria Cotter, I was not eager to be thrust back into that particular world gone by crinolines and nylons, drum majorettes and home ec. classes, above all the appalling cookie-cutter destinies, preordained for women. But while it is a decade I would not care to revisit, I found myself riveted from first page to the last.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Bessie Hamilton
At first, I started this book not really sure if I would like Gloria or sympathize with her. Maillard loads his novel with detail and Gloria's shifting perspective on her past and present give a true picture of a girl on the edge of choosing her... Read More
Rated of 5
by Gerald Hutchison
Being a male 5 years older than Gloria Cotter, I came to the book lured by the book blurb's reference to "John O'Hara country." No one has replaced O'Hara, of course, and I did not expect Mr. Maillard to do so, but I was looking for a... Read More
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...