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Rules for Saying Goodbye: A Novel
Synopses & Reviews
"Kath is curious," observes her younger brother, Ethan, not without anxiety. She is thirteen; already everyone can see she's got her eye on bigger things than provincial Fresno can offer. Years in the glamorous chill of an East Coast prep school will introduce her to a razor-sharp sense of social distinction, cocaine "so good it's pink," and an indispensable best friend — all that she needs to prepare for life in Manhattan. There will be fourteen-dollar cocktails but no money for groceries; unsuitable men of enormous charm, and unsuitable jobs of no charm at all; and a wistful yearning for a transformation from someone of promise into someone of genius.
In this deliciously witty and affecting debut novel, fiction winks at real life: Katherine Taylor is its muddled heroine, and also its author. Written in the tradition of Curtis Sittenfeld and Melissa Bank, with the gorgeous hues of a pile of Gatsby's shirts, Rules for Saying Goodbye is a bittersweet yet comic coming-of-age tale that has an unerring feel for the delights and malaises of a generation.
"Katherine Taylor's debut features a narrator named Katherine Taylor, whose rebellious mother sends her from Fresno to Manhattan's fictional Claver prep at age 13. The madcap, fast-forward shenanigans that follow read like Auntie Mame la A.M. Homes. Rich Claver friend Page gets pregnant and develops a coke habit. Katherine gets a Columbia M.F.A. but lacks drive, tending bar at an exclusive hotspot while trying not to deal with her abrasive mom. Katherine's brother, Ethan, a gay actor, rooms with her in her cheap uptown digs until he becomes 'the face of Diet Coke.' There's ambivalent romance that involves a move to London. Claver friend Clarissa gets cancer as she turns 30. When a nutty neighbor threatens to kill Katherine, police advise vacating, but 'giving up a rent-controlled apartment to save your life is as ridiculous as living in Queens.' While a lot of what Katherine does is familiar, Taylor is a superb satirist, eviscerating everyone in her Katherine's path. In the middle of the novel she drops a list of 'rules for saying goodbye'; it's extraneous, even precious, and it's the best thing in the book: e.g., 'Once you are gone, be gone for good.' Taylor manages to make worn New York yarns feel fresh again. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Taylor beautifully conjures the unmoored and uncertain feelings of young adulthood." Library Journal
"Rules for Saying Goodbye achieves a directness and intimacy few novels can match. A beautifully observed and poignant book." T.C. Boyle, National Book Award nominee for Drop City
"Reading Katherine Taylor is like meeting at a party full of strangers the person you instantly recognize will be a friend for life. Confiding, gossipy, and heartfelt, Rules for Saying Goodbye charts the inexplicable failings and the surprising durabilities of love. It is a sparkling and witty debut." Elisabeth Robinson, author of the New York Times bestseller The True and Amazing Adventures of the Hunt Sisters
In the world of Kate Taylor, heroine of Rules for Saying Goodbye, pleasure and melancholy are close neighbors--like the summer hats and lobster boilers squashed together in the tiny closet of her Manhattan apartment. In this hilarious, bittersweet story, we follow young Kate from her girlhood in Fresno California, through a career at a chilly New England prep school, and on to life in Manhattan, where she finds a sometimes dissipated, sometimes glamorous life of fourteen-dollar cocktails, empty cupboards, and extravagantly unsuitable men.
In this witty and affecting debut, the real-life Katherine Taylor chronicles the moment when you stop waiting for things to happen, and go in search of them yourself.
In this deliciously witty and affecting debut novel, fiction winks at real life: Katherine Taylor is its muddled heroine, and also its author who has written a bittersweet yet comic coming-of-age tale that has an unerring feel for the delights and malaise of a generation.
About the Author
Katherine Taylor has won a Pushcart Prize, and her work has appeared in such journals as Ploughshares. Much like her fictional alter ego, she has burned bridges in London, Rome, and Brussels, but now lives in Los Angeles.
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