Elinor Lipman is the author of several fiction and non-fiction works. Her works include Tweet Land of Liberty: Irreverent Rhymes from the Political Circus, I Can't Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays, The Dearly Departed, The Ladies' Man, The Inn at Lake Devine, Isabel's Bed, The Way Men Act, Then She Found Me, and Into Love and Out Again. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Gourmet, Salon, Self, More, and Yankee Magazine.
She has taught writing at Simmons, Hampshire, and Smith colleges, and won the 2001 New England Book Award for fiction. She lives in Massachusetts.
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A Conversation with Elinor Lipman
Do women as smart as Alice Thrift (B.S. MIT, MD HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL) fall
for men like Ray Russo (traveling salesman without portfolio)?
I've got my dukes up waiting for that question. Yes, they do, everywhere I look. It's the love her/hate him syndrome carried to an extreme. Some readers get touchy about this, though: They want women on the page to make good decisions, no missteps, meet and marry noble people, and for the character to see the warning signs that are evident to the reader. Ray becomes Alice's boyfriend through persistence and by default. There's no one else, and he tries harder and knows a good thing when he sees one. He's a little sleazier than the average inappropriate guy, but I couldn't help myself. And I grew fonder and fonder of him as the story progressed. Let's not overlook that Alice was an excellent candidate to confuse good sex with love, and perseverance as devotion. Besides, don't I say somewhere in the waning pages that this is a cautionary tale?
How did you decide to make Alice a graduate of Harvard Medical School?
I went to college down the street from Harvard Medical School and attended enough mixers at ...
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