Ellen Feldman, a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Next to Love, Scottsboro, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank, and Lucy.
Ellen grew up in northern New Jersey and attended Bryn Mawr College, from which she holds a B.A. and an M.A. in modern history. After further graduate studies at Columbia University, she worked for a New York publishing house.
Ellen lives in New York City and East Hampton, New York, with her husband and their Cairn terrier named Lucy. She is currently at work on The Unwitting, a novel, set against the cultural cold war, about a marriage and a country betrayed.
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Next to Love follows the lives of three young womenBabe, Grace, and Millieduring World War II and its aftermath. Though childhood friends, their friendship in its adult years is occasionally rocky. Do you think the recent spate of books and movies about womens friendship romanticize the relationship as we used to romanticize menwomen relationships?
Womens friendships can be rare and wonderful, deep with trust and buoyant with humor and support. Over the years I have found my own close ties to women to be rich and sustaining. But I do think a distinction has to be made between valuing womens friendships and idealizing them. Many recent books and movies tend to do the latter. When all else fails, they imply, we still have one another. An unfortunate corollary to this attitude is the idea that men are unreliable and likely to behave badly. I do believe there are distinctions between men and women, but I dont think the fault line lies at friendship. I cherish my women friends, but I also have several men friends whom I treasure. The relationship is different but no less prized. I dont believe either gender has the market cornered on loyalty, generosity, or kindness.
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Blood at the Root
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