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Mary Gaitskill
Adult Fiction GAITSKI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Gaitskill begins her bittersweet novel of the friendship between fashion model Alison and the older HIV+ Veronica (whose looks and habits are totally alien to Alison's stylish world) years later when Alison is older and feeling her body slowly decay. While the book follows Alison's younger self as she prances about Paris catwalks and New York nightclubs, the knowledge that she ends up lonely and broken-spirited casts a pall over the telling of those glittering earlier days. Mazur plays on this well, giving Alison a weary yet wistful tone that conveys the weight of her self-loathing. For Veronica's lines, she skillfully alters her voice to be the "bitterly inflected instrument" Gaitskill describes: nasal, almost braying, but direct and honest in contrast to the timidity and insincerity of Alison's words. The narration can be disorienting as it slips from grim present to various points in the past, but that works to the story's advantage, making all the perspectives bleed together, infusing the whole with sadness. Bleak but compelling, the book affords listeners a wonderfully nuanced glimpse inside a damaged psyche. Simultaneous release with the Vintage paperback (Reviews, Aug. 1, 2005). (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Alison
Age: 50s
Cleans toilets for money; has hepatitis; loses her focus at times; former model; best friend died from AIDS.
Cleaning lady

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