The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

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9780140293241: The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing
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The New York Times bestselling classic of a young woman’s journey in work, love, and life
 
“In this swinging, funny, and tender study of contemporary relationships, Bank refutes once and for all the popular notions of neurotic thirtysomething women.” —Entertainment Weekly
 
“Truly poignant.” —Time
 
Generous-hearted and wickedly insightful, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing maps the progress of Jane Rosenal as she sets out on a personal and spirited expedition through the perilous terrain of sex, love, relationships, and the treacherous waters of the workplace. Soon Jane is swept off her feet by an older man and into a Fitzgeraldesque whirl of cocktail parties, country houses, and rules that were made to be broken, but comes to realize that it’s a world where the stakes are much too high for comfort. With an unforgettable comic touch, Bank skillfully teases out universal issues, puts a clever new spin on the mating dance, and captures in perfect pitch what it’s like to come of age as a young woman.

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Jane Rosenal, the narrator of The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, is wise beyond her years. Not that that's saying much--since none of her elders, with the exception of her father, is particularly wise. At the age of 14, Jane watches her brother and his new girlfriend, searching for clues for how to fall in love, but by the end of the summer she's trying to figure out how not to fail in love. At twice that age, Jane quickly internalizes How to Meet and Marry Mr. Right, even though that retro manual is ruining her chances at happiness. In the intervening years, Melissa Bank's heroine struggles at love and work. The former often seems indistinguishable from the latter, and her experiences in book publishing inspire little in the way of affection. As Jane announces in "The Worst Thing a Suburban Girl Could Imagine": "I'd been a rising star at H----- until Mimi Howlett, the new executive editor, decided I was just the lights of an airplane."

Bank's first collection has a beautiful, true arc, and all the sophistication and control her heroine could ever desire. In "The Floating House," Jane and her boyfriend, Jamie, visit his ex-girlfriend in St. Croix, and right from the start she can't stop mimicking her beautiful competitor, in a notably idiotic fashion. "I'm like one of those animals that imitates its predators to survive," she realizes--one of several thousand of Bank's ruefully funny phrases. But even as Jane clowns around, desperately trying to keep up appearances, she is so hyperaware it hurts. Again and again, the author explores the dichotomy between life as it happens and the rehearsed anecdote, the preferred outcome. In The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, even suburban quiet has "nothing to do with peace." Bank's much-anticipated debut merits all its buzz and, more to the point, transcends it. --Kerry Fried

About the Author:

Melissa Bank is the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing and The Wonder Spot. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, and Zoetrope, among other publications, and has been heard on National Public Radio and featured at Symphony Space in New York City. Bank holds an MFA from Cornell University and is the winner of a Nelson Algren Award for short fiction. She divides her time between New York City and East Hampton.

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