After being befriended by Susie Lyons, Ilyana Meyerovich's depression begins to fade, but when Susie requires support from Ilyana, Ilyana finds herself struggling with doing the right thing despite knowing that the results of her actions will be devastating to Susie
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Ellen Miller has a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University and was the recipient of the New York University Creative Writing Fellowship for Fiction. She lives in New York.From Kirkus Reviews:
First-novelist Miller pulls a minimum of punches in her grueling depiction of a young womans heroin-assisted downward spiral. Since her youth in Bensonhurst, Ilyana, the only child of crude, abusive parents, sensed heroin as an inevitable destination. Now a bookish Brown graduate, she lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the same neighborhood her grandparents had worked hard to escape. Ilyana does her best to resist friendships: such attachments seem inevitably to lead to loss. When her beloved roommate commits suicide, Ilyana replaces her with Susie, a big-boned mosaic maker who deflects Ilyanas reflexive cruelty and wears down her wariness with generosity and bad jokes. Effortlessly domestic, Susie even gets the nihilistic Ilyana to bake a peach pie. Initially, Ilyana is confused by Paul, Susies nice-guy boyfriend, but then she gets at whats behind his lack of focus: that hes using heroin. He manipulates her into keeping it secret from Susie: and when Susie discovers her deception, she immediately moves out. Bereft, and ruminating on her lost friendship, Ilyana intensifies her own use and takes up with a slick pack of clever addictsthe sort who play parlor games predicting how each will diebut even that insubstantial circle evaporates when a gang member overdoses. Ilyana meticulously chronicles the degrading minutiae of the months that follow: her razor-sharp memory and ready grab-bag of scientific and literary references dont dissipate, but, rather, enrich her meditations on paralysis, consciously chosen loneliness, masochistic relationships (including a fling with Susies Paul), and the decay of her bodily functions. Its only when Paul dies of AIDS, and Ilyanas suicidal wishes run rampant, that she opens herself to a redemption of sorts. Though the hopeful transformations feel a bit forced, Ilyanas voice is authentic in unsparingly illuminating the link between self-protection and self-destruction, revealing a tender inner life that persists despite addiction, depression, and descent into squalor. A bleak, bracing debut. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Dutton Adult, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0525943722
Book Description Dutton Adult, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110525943722