Where We Lived : A Fiction

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9780060197698: Where We Lived : A Fiction

Meet Tanya, Gwen, Emma, Mia, and Claire, five girls from the same hometown whose lives intersect under unforgettable circumstances. Tanya grows up with an abusive brother and a prostitute's daughter for a best friend. Across town, Gwen's teenage daydreams of being a supermodel are disrupted when her younger brother has a nearly fatal accident; later she flees to Madrid in an attempt to heal after being attacked in an alleyway behind a nightclub. Emma has a working single mother who, like all mothers in such circumstances, has difficulty controlling and protecting her daughter from the rough-and-tumble world in which they live. Mia, the woman who overcomes perhaps the most, loses her father to suicide and is tormented by a mentally ill neighbor who is obsessed with his death. Years later, she revisits these dark emotions when her childhood best friend is murdered. And, finally, Claire is the aspiring writer who as a child fears losing her family and then as an adult deals with her sense of loneliness and isolation by bartending in a nightclub.

Despite the dark nature of their stories, these girls are not defeated by their experiences. Their difficulties fortify them, make them push forward through their lives with great force and perseverance. Yet within their journeys through new cities and worlds, each of them still must overcome the internal struggle that inevitably happens when you have left where you are from, the place that defines you, and have settled somewhere all on your own.

Through these remarkable characters, Christina Fitzpatrick captures not only the anger and fear in being young and unprotected, but also the strength and compassion that unite all of us who have suffered and survived. In this dark, breathtaking work, Ms. Fitzpatrick's haunting prose elevates the female experience into a powerful, raw read.Where We Livedis both stunning fiction and the debut of a major new talent.

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About the Author:

Christina Fitzpatrick received her MFA in 1999 from Sarah Lawrence College. She has worked as a bartender for the past ten years. The author of Where We Lived, she has also taught writing at Iona College, Gotham Writers' Workshop, and Valhalla's Women's Prison. She currently teaches ESL in Rome and remains affiliated with Teachers and Writers Collaborative in Manhattan. She divides her time living in New York City and abroad.

From Publishers Weekly:

Fitzpatrick's debut work is dubbed "A Fiction," a neat way of evading the problem of what to call a collection of slightly interconnected stories that don't quite cohere into a novel. They revolve around a group of girls growing up in a Massachusetts town and navigating their way through family problems, often involving abuse and threatening sexual situations. The tone is bitter and wary, the few moments of calm and fleeting content extremely hard-won. The only real nongeographical link between the stories is that some of the girls Claire, a bartender and aspiring writer; Gwen, who wants to be a model; Emma, who is murdered; poor Tanya with her brutal brother; and Mia with her suicidal father get to know each other, and some play brief roles in others' stories. Fitzpatrick has a wonderful eye for suburban squalor and teenage angst, and there are memorable scenes: a girl hiding on a roof from a boy who has come to beat her up; a mad neighbor who burns herself to death; a terrible train journey with a seemingly sweet drunk who suddenly turns abusive; a sinister youth who terrorizes a girl in a swimming pool. But despite the graphic sketches of anxiety and the never-relaxing sense of chronic unease, a certain monotony sets in. Although some girls are presented in the first person and some in the third, their experiences and world views are essentially similar, so that it is a relief when, in the last story, Claire the would-be writer (clearly representing the author) invents a foolish, lighthearted fable in which she involves herself with David Letterman. There is a large talent at work here, but on this evidence it is better suited to unashamed short stories than to creating a bigger picture.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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