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What She Left Me

Doenges, Judy

12 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0874519373 / ISBN 13: 9780874519372
Published by Middlebury College Press, 1999
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Bill Leone, Bookseller, ABAA (Palos Verdes Estates, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since September 22, 1998

Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

First Edition (first printing). The debut story collection by the author of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD. Winner of the Katharine Bakeless Nason Fiction Prize (judged by Richard Bausch). Together with a hand-written card from Doenges to a book collector: "Thanks so much for your interest in my work. I'm thrilled to be included in someone's collection. All the best, Judy Doenges" Fine/Fine. Signed by Doenges on the title page. HL. Bookseller Inventory # 14180

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Bibliographic Details

Title: What She Left Me

Publisher: Middlebury College Press

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: 1st Edition.

About this title


Stories about the many guises of family bond.


The characters in Judy Doenges's edgy What She Left Me are self-appointed outsiders: gamblers, petty criminals, men and women on the fringe of both gay and straight worlds. Chic, gin-soaked mothers haunt these stories, as do cops. There are guns, dubious inheritances, and a pervasive sense of emotional anomie. Caught in a police spotlight at the end of "Crooks," a teenager imagines that "this was the kind of light that would follow me to the police station, then to my home, even on to college, where I would be forever squinting and cringing under someone's scrutiny, never quite measuring up, never quite fitting in." In "MIB," the narrator's lover abandons her in search of someone who "lives here, outside, with the rest of us." Even the sense of family offered by the lesbian community is suspect. "As far as I was concerned"--according to the narrator of "Incognito"--"gay people made up an amorphous, loose, happy group, pairing up for love but still remaining outlaws. This family business seemed too familiar and dangerous. An old idea like that made the present very confusing."

Of course, it's hard to write about alienation without leaving the reader disconnected as well. The two best stories in Doenges's collection sidestep this problem by anchoring themselves firmly in the physical world. In the title piece, a waitress named Sandra obsessively catalogs the contents of her dead mother's house: barware, swimsuits, two aging Great Danes, the father's leather address book that he abandoned along with his family. Doenges switches gears in the masterful final novella, "God of Gods," in which a touchingly unworldly butcher named Odin Tollefson struggles with the changing social landscape of Chicago in the '70s--and his own attraction to a male coworker. Odin is something Doenges's other characters are not: engaged, palpably eager to love, to be loved, and to do the right thing. His story concludes with the sweetly redemptive sight of a bed sheet being folded back: "To Odin it was as if the earth had burst open beneath him and brought forth a newly minted, gleaming city." It's the book's only happy ending, and its most satisfying one, also. --Mary Park

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This is a single proprietorship, owned and operated by William C Leone Jr, 2408 Chelsea Road, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274, USA. The email address is and phone number is 310-377-2628. Payment by check, money order, VISA, MasterCard, American Express or PayPal. Member, ABAA. California residents add 9.00% sales tax.

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