An astounding tour-de-force exploration of the limits of self-destruction and the possibilities of redemption. Narrated by a young woman distinguished by her humor as well as her encyclopedic knowledge of literature, physics, and pharmacology--this novel has all the hallmarks of literary sensation. "I could never predict what was going to ruin me and what was going to rescue me," says Ilyana Meyerovich. In her squalid Lower East Side apartment, masochism and nihilism form the twin poles of Ilyana's heroin-blurred existence. When Ilyana encounters true friendship in the form of Susie Lyons, having no precedent for it, she cannot help but destroy it. Susie's genuine affection and calm, centered presence tug Ilyana out of her depression, dark memories, and existential despair, but not far enough that Ilyana is willing or able to act to save Susie from her own innocence. The consequences are devastating, until Ilyana meets with the hope of redemption, for herself and for Susie. Ellen Miller shows us a world where the desperate desire for connection to something larger than the isolated self takes many forms. Like Being Killed's starkly alienated protagonists and their disturbing, fascinating lives rise from the page with scorching power in this harrowing, cathartic tale of human struggle. * An astonishing literary debut, by a wholly original young novelist, in the tradition of Dorothy Allison, author of the acclaimed Bastard Out of Carolina.
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Ellen Miller has a masters of fine arts degree from New York University. She was the recipient of the NYU Creative Writing Fellowship for Fiction, along with a residency at the McDowell Colony. She lives in New York City.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 # 0525943722
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97805259437231.0
Book Description Dutton Adult, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0525943722
Book Description Dutton Adult, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110525943722