Absolutely Australia's Lowest Prices

Shop over 1.5 Million Toys in our Huge New Range

Veronica (Vintage Contemporaries
By

Rating
Product Description
Product Details

About the Author

Mary Gaitskill is the author of the story collections Bad Behavior, Because They Wanted To (nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award), and Don't Cry, and the novels The Mare, Veronica (nominated for a National Book Award) and Two Girls, Fat and Thin. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories.

Reviews

Imagine that Edie Sedgwick penned a roman a clef in her 50s, and that she discovered, in her ugly, diseased decrepitude, that celebrities and downtown loft spaces and skuzzy rich hangers-on were the nadir of existence. Imagine that she managed, in her own post-trauma-addled way, to convey a beautiful-ugly portrait of this life, and the life that followed that life, a life of cleaning offices and riding public buses, in a wincingly acute manner that allowed you not only to forgive the destructiveness in which her youthful self luxuriated but view it as a real human tragedy. This is the accomplishment of Veronica, or rather of Alison, who is the narrator and soul-wearied subject of Mary Gaitskill's second novel. Alison, who lived an Edie-ish life, has a face that is "broken, with age and pain coming through the cracks." Now in her 50s, she cleans her friend's toilet for money, she's sick with hepatitis and her "focus sometimes slips and goes funny"-an apt description of her story's pleasing disorientation, a story which amounts to a nonchronological recounting of her "bright and scalding" past as she hikes feverishly up a hill. Alison's narration begins as a bracing account of her "gray present" from which she recalls her childhood and her years as a model in Paris and New York and the death of her friend Veronica from AIDS. A former inhabitant of a face-deep world, she cannot describe a person without first reducing his or her face to a single violent visual stroke ("his face was like lava turned into cold rock"). These descriptions-or dismissals-fail, on purpose, to render any character a visual flesh-and-blood presence; instead, Alison's way of seeing renders people distressingly naked. Of course no seasoned reader of Mary Gaitskill would expect a preeningly tragic book about the emotional pitfalls of modeling, and so where there might be an airbrushed homage to failing beauty or weepy nostalgia over formerly elastic body parts there are instead turds, sphincters, scars, wounds and other celebrated repugnancies. Gaitskill's style is gorgeously caustic and penetrating with a homing instinct toward the harrowing; her ability to capture abstract feelings and sensations with a precise and unexpected metaphor is a squirmy delight to encounter in such abundance. As the book progresses, Alison's gray present becomes subsumed by the scalding brightness of her past, until her sick and ugly self is all but obliterated from the pages; aside from the occasional reminder that Alison is climbing a hill, her sage hindsight collapses into the immediacy of her recollections, and Alison's shallow bohemian fixations again become her only story. The result is that her blunt honesty feels face, rather than soul, deep. 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. (On sale Oct. 11) Heidi Julavits is the author of two novels, The Mineral Palace and The Effect of Living Backwards. She is a founding editor of the Believer. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Gatiskill is enormously gifted. . . . [Veronica] is a masterly examination of the relationship between surface and self, culture and fasion, time and memory." --The New York Times Book Review "Gaitskill has written a novel that will leave you shaking and joyful simultaneously, dizzy with the proximity of private terror and bottomless hope." --O, The Oprah Magazine "Twisted, beautiful, grotesque, graceful, and exceedingly well-executed. People write their whole lives in the hope of coming up with just one sentences that rises to the level of this book." --The Sunday Oregonian "Gaitskill taps into a deeper vein of emotional force, and with vivid language and an absorbing architecture, she delivers her most affecting, sophisticated work to date." --The Boston Globe "Beautiful, devastating. . . . Gaitskill devotes almost religious attention to language and to our failure to make our lives as grand as the art we love. There are paragraphs like poems in Veronica that lure you back, over and over." --Elle "Gaitskill writes so radiantly about violent self-loathing that the very incongruousness of her language has shocking power." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times "Sensuous and precise. . . . Veronica captures the nexus between the erotic glamour [of the 1980's] and its epic heartlessness." --Entertainment Weekly "Gaitskill writes from the gut . . . [Her] characters bleed, sweat, cry, and they experience sadness, anger and love as much as a physical sensation as an emotion." --San Francisco Chronicle "Gaitskill's style is gorgeously caustic . . . Her ability to capture abstract feelings and sensations with a prescise and unexpected metaphor is a squirmy delight to encounter in such abundance." --Heidi Julavits, Pubishers Weekly "[Veronica] creates an atmosphere, provokes a response, and suffuses us with an emotion that we can easily, all too easily, summon up. It's art that you can continue to see even with your eyes closed." --Francine Prose, Slate

In her first novel in ten years, Gaitskill (Bad Behavior; Two Girls, Fat and Thin) offers an ode to the complex feelings that manifest in women's friendships. When Alison, a fashion model recovering from a stint on the Paris runway, meets Veronica, she is immediately drawn to the older woman's quirky irreverence. As the two become closer, Alison is pulled into Veronica's colorful, if often dysfunctional, world. Although Gaitskill's protagonists are perfectly hewn, a host of ancillary characters adds heft to the story. What's more, the excesses of the 1980s-including sex and drugs-give a rich patina to the world of the hip and their imitators. Sadly, the nonstop party ends when Veronica contracts AIDS. Much of the narrative takes place on a single day in which a now middle-aged Alison reflects on her life via an onslaught of flashbacks. While this time frame stretches credibility, the novel is so well wrought that it barely matters. Beautifully and sensitively crafted, Gaitskill's return is highly recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/05.]-Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Ask a Question About this Product More...
Write your question below:
Look for similar items by category
How Fishpond Works
Fishpond works with suppliers all over the world to bring you a huge selection of products, really great prices, and delivery included on over 25 million products that we sell. We do our best every day to make Fishpond an awesome place for customers to shop and get what they want — all at the best prices online.
Webmasters, Bloggers & Website Owners
You can earn a 5% commission by selling Veronica (Vintage Contemporaries (Paperback)) on your website. It's easy to get started - we will give you example code. After you're set-up, your website can earn you money while you work, play or even sleep! You should start right now!
Authors / Publishers
Are you the Author or Publisher of a book? Or the manufacturer of one of the millions of products that we sell. You can improve sales and grow your revenue by submitting additional information on this title. The better the information we have about a product, the more we will sell!
Item ships from and is sold by Fishpond.com, Inc.
Back to top