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Veronica Paperback – July 18, 2006
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From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Mary Gaitskill's uncanny sense of how uneven life can be drives a narrative without rules, a story told according to the way we think, this impression or that triggering a memory, an impulse, or something more inchoate; a feeling not yet fully formed or half forgotten, an impression of the world made from a father's unfallen tears in a moment of frightening epiphany. Mary Gaitskill's novel is not about moral judgment, injury, guilt, forgiveness, or fate, it is about life: what it feel like to navigate the days, months, and years using what gifts we may have, surviving our follies, learning to face the truth about aging and mortality, and maybe gaining wisdom.
Alison may at first seem cold, somewhat passive and naïve, until we reflect that she is a teenage girl of uncommon attractiveness who has run away from home into a world of predators. She finds her way into a modeling career and copes with the advantages and pitfalls of sudden success, discovering a cycle of exploitation, rejection, and finally, failure. She leaves that flamboyant career and eventually finds a position as a word-processing temp for an advertising firm working the night shift. There she meets Veronica.Read more ›
Having said that, the book is nothing like that at all. It takes place in a day, as the middle aged Allison drags herself to work as a cleaning person, visits friends and trudges up a mountain in the rain to tire herself out so she can sleep. As she moves through this ordinary, dreary day, her mind skips back to the past, her glamorous and painful life, but most of all to Veronica. Veronica is an improbable friend for the then-elegant Allison; she's boistrous, badly dressed, and embarrasses Allison in public. Yet Veronica emerges as the only person Allison cares about. In the end, she realizes that Veronica saved her by allowing the cold Allison to pity her, and thus become human. It's a redemption of sorts, as Allison faces her own illness and death.
This is a difficult book to read and to write about! Gaitskill gives us a detailed, painful look at the world of modeling--talk about pity! And at times she is a wonderful writer.Read more ›
Among the most striking features of "Veronica" is the varied sense of place, with five areas receiving particularized descriptions. The first is Hoboken, New Jersey, where Alison grew up in a family with angry, unhappy parents and two sisters. The second is San Franciso. At 16, Alison ran away and lived on the street selling flowers. The descriptions of the seedy North Beach areas of the city are among the most powerful in the book. A significant portion of the story is also set in Paris, as Alison becomes a famous fashion model and the mistress of a powerful and sinister agent. Gaitskill presents both the glamor and the underbelly of Parisian life, as seen through her young protagonist. The fourth major location described in the book is New York City. Alison meets her friend, Veronica, and has another temporary success working as a model. Gaitskill captures well the shimmer and pace of New York City life, in its cruelty and opportunity. The final setting of the book is San Rafael, California, where the aging and sick Alison makes her home and recounts her story. In the book, Gaitskill and her narrator shift repeatedly from one scene to another as Alison reflects upon her like.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was very boring. Characters were much too self-absorbed.Published 1 month ago by Trudy Wright
This book made me sad as I followed the friendship between the 2 women. Both seemed so out of place and lonely--but I was glad I read this. Read morePublished 4 months ago by K. T. albro
This book grabbed me and wrapped me right up inside of it every second I was reading it. It is not often you are lucky enough to come across such a novel if you are like me, a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Danielle
Had to read for school. Odd book and hard to read at times.Published 6 months ago by Girlluvschocolate
This is a fascinating, highly innovative novel that increasingly engages the reader. The writing is brilliant. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Carroll Smith-Rosenberg
It bounced around too much for me. I liked her other book, The Mare much better.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
This isn't the first book from Mary Gaitskill I've purchased, but it is the first I've read through because I didn't want to put it down. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jen Malone
I kept teetering back and forth, at times I loved this book and other times I just wanted to to stop reading. This is one of those character-driven, prose-intensive books. Read morePublished on June 25, 2014 by Kindle Customer