Excerpt from Veronica by Mary Gaitskill, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Veronica

by Mary Gaitskill

Veronica
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2005, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2006, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"The supervisor loves her because she's a total fucking fag hag," complained another proofreader. "That's why she's here all the time."

"I get a kick out of her myself," said a temping actress. "She's like Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings combined."

"My God, you're right," I said, so loudly and suddenly that the others stared. "That's exactly what she's like."

I cross a little footbridge spanning the canal and pass a giant drugstore that takes up the whole block. There's an employee standing outside, yelling at someone. "Hey you!" he yells. "I saw that! Come back here!" Then more uncertainly: "Hey! I said come back here!"

Hey you. Veronica sat in a doctor's office, singing, "We've got the horse right here; his name's Retrovir" to the tune of a big Guys and Dolls number. The receptionist smiled. I didn't.

Come back here. Veronica burst into laughter. "You're like a Persian cat, hon." She made primly crossed paws of her hands and ecstatic blanks of her eyes; she let her tongue peep from her mouth. She laughed again.

More employees come out of the store and watch the guy; he just keeps walking. It's obvious why. The police can't get there fast enough and these employees are not going to fight him, because he'd win. This animal reality is just dawning on the employees. It makes them laugh, like an animal shaking its head and trotting away, glad to be alive.

I pass the bus depot, where people are hanging out, even in the rain. I pass closed restaurants, Mexican and French. The knot of traffic at this intersection always seems a little festive, although I don't know why. The bus depot changes: Sometimes it's sad, sometimes just businesslike, sometimes seems like it's about to explode. John's office is in the next block. He shares it with another photographer, who mostly shoots pets. He seems to be better off than John, who sticks to people.

I let myself in and sit down behind John's desk for a cigarette. I know I should be grateful to John for letting me clean his office, but I'm not. I hate doing it. It depresses me and it tears up my arm, which was injured in a car accident and then ruined by a doctor. John shares a bathroom with the pet photographer, who has filthy habits, and I have to clean up for both of them. I used to know John; we used to be friends. Even now, he sometimes talks to me about his insecurities, or advises me on my problems--smoking, for example, and how terrible it is.

Excerpted from Veronica by Mary Gaitskill Copyright © 2005 by Mary Gaitskill. Excerpted by permission of Pantheon, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hot Milk
    Hot Milk
    by Deborah Levy
    When people reach their early 20s, they often choose to go abroad – they want to get away from...
  • Book Jacket: Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    by Joy Williams
    I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of religious fiction - not even books ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book That Matters Most
    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers appreciated the innovative structure of The Book That Matters ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Ashes of Fiery Weather
    by Kathleen Donohoe

    "Admirers of Pete Hamill and Kate Atkinson will appreciate this gripping novel." - Library Journal

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.