Till the Fat Lady Sings: A Novel

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9780060190217: Till the Fat Lady Sings: A Novel

Manya Miriam Mittelman and her circle of friends at Columbia University struggle with the dichotomy between flesh and spirit. A first novel. National ad/promo.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Warm, witty first novel of romance among the unromantic at Columbia University; the humor and benignly distant narrative tone are the reassuring tip-off that we're not talking realism here: The angst-ridden, drug-using, emotionally traumatized characters will grow up without coming to real harm. Plump Manya Mittelman is in danger of becoming truly fat. Passing through college in total isolation, working weekends at a large-size boutique (Zaftique), unappreciated by her dieting feminist English professor (an expert on a Victorian novel absent not just from the canon but from all of N.Y.C.'s libraries), she retreats into bulimia. (Secret bingeing ``at first...filled the absence of companionship when companionship was desired, and ultimately...made the absence of companionship itself something to be desired.'') Then Manya's claimed as a friend by Ophelia, who actually thrives at college: ``a chic little self-destructive vampire'' who displays ``the thin scars on her inner wrists as if they were diamond bracelets.'' After Manya is seduced and abandoned by Ophelia's cold and posturing sort-of boyfriend, as well as pursued and then rejected by her boss at Zaftique, she falls back on the comfort of food, even as everyone continues pondering the nature of love. Meanwhile, Ophelia is orchestrating a demonstration to culminate in her own public suicide, though pregnancy pulls her toward life. She's delightfully upstaged by Manya, who leads other fat women in a spontaneous revolutionary act. By this charming novel's end, ambivalent, abusive, and irresponsible men see the light--and these thoroughly contemporary characters pair off in the most old-fashioned way. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

This hip debut ruminates on the concept of food as a substitute for love. In satirical, pseudo-profound prose Kwitney skewers her characters, all intentional caricatures, and Columbia University provides an ideal vantage point from which to watch them succumb to insecurities and develop defense mechanisms. Polite, plump, 18-year-old Manya fills her socially empty weekends with bulimic binges. Weekdays, she attends a feminist lit class taught by equally plain, food-obsessed Emilia, who fears spinsterhood. Manya becomes friendly with a seductive, pretentious student who renames herself after Hamlet's overwrought Ophelia, imagines melodramatic dialogues with Death and even plans her own suicide as the ultimate attention-getting device. All three punish themselves physically, but while Manya and Emilia overeat to alleviate loneliness, Ophelia uses drugs and starves herself to prove she's independent. Kwitney insightfully mocks romantic and platonic relationships, forms of nourishment, poseurs and female self-images in a clever novel burdened with a banal title.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Alisa Kwitney
Published by Harpercollins (1992)
ISBN 10: 0060190213 ISBN 13: 9780060190217
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