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Publisher's Summary

As a teenager on the streets of San Francisco, Alison is discovered by a photographer and swept into the world of fashion-modeling in Paris and Rome. When her career crashes and a love affair ends disastrously, she moves to New York City to build a new life. There she meets Veronica: an older wisecracking eccentric with her own ideas about style, a proofreader who comes to work with a personal "office kit" and a plaque that reads "Still Anal After All These Years".Improbably, the two women become friends. Their friendship will survive not only Alison's reentry into the seductive nocturnal realm of fashion, but also Veronica's terrible descent into the then-uncharted realm of AIDS. The memory of their friendship will continue to haunt Alison years later, when she, too, is aging and ill and is questioning the meaning of what she experienced and who she became during that time.Masterfully layering time and space, thought and sensation, Mary Gaitskill dazzles the listener with psychological insight and a mystical sense of the soul's hurtling passage through the world. A novel unlike any other, Veronica is a tour de force about the fragility and mystery of human relationships, the failure of love, and love's abiding power.
©2005 Mary Gaitskill; (P)2006 Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews



National Book Award Finalist, Fiction, 2005
National Book Critics Circle Finalist, Fiction, 2005
"Elegiac, funny, and life affirming." (Booklist)
"Gaitskill's implacable refusal of sentimentality is her great strength: no group hugs here, just baleful understanding." (The Washington Post)
"Gaitskill is enormously gifted....Her palpable talent puts her among the most eloquent and perceptive contemporary fiction writers." (The New York Times Books Review)
"Gaitskill delivers her most affecting, sophistocated work to date." (The Boston Globe)
"A novel that will leave you shaking, and joyful simultaneously." (O, The Oprah Magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Brown Paper Wrapper on 04-10-09

I Want to Listen to This Again

This is a beautifully written book with a circular structure. Things are revealed gradually. No words are wasted or random. Some sentences are exquisitely beautiful. It evokes emotions and sometimes painful confrontations with the truth of oneself. It is not a beach read. Not that it is a difficult book. But it has meat to it. It's not cotton candy for the mind. Worth rereading a couple of times.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Eric on 12-14-06

Everything is baroque-en

I wanted to like this book. It was a finalist for at least two prestigious awards. The author, however, can't get past half a sentence without relapsing into ornate descriptions. In my opinion, she hasn't learned how to manage her talent. As a result the story, to the extent there is one, slows to a crawl "like tired drivers snaking cars through the molassas of afternoon streets, bits of dull light flashing off their porcelain eyes..." OK, I made that garbage up, but there's a WHOLE lot of that sort of thing, more skillfully written, but just as tiresome. I don't like to think of myself as chauvinistic, but I found myself saying "So, is this what people mean by a 'chick book'?" "Veronica" is self consiously florid. Read 50 pages if you want, but rest assured, by then you have seen the landscape. If you continue past there, it won't be to find out "what happens next." You will continue only because you, like the author, just can't get enough metaphors and clever language. Turning a phrase is not the same as writing a book.

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8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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