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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »

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Elegies for the Brokenhearted

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Elegies for the Brokenhearted Cover

ISBN13: 9780393340235
ISBN10: 0393340236
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Who are the people you'll never forget? For Mary Murphy, there are five, eulogized here in an utterly unforgettable voice. Mary tells the story of her own life — her childhood spent trading one home and father figure for another, her efforts to track down her rebellious sister, and her winding search for purpose — through her experiences and encounters with the people who shaped her path. The result is an unconventional and moving story about identity, family, and belonging.

Review:

"Deeply, satisfyingly original....Elegies is the literary equivalent of a hand grenade." Joanna Smith Rakoff, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[An] absorbing novel....Hodgen's magnificent, heart-breaking journey with its moving finish is an unforgettable novel, a must-read.Knocked my socks off. It's a first-person novel told in second-person looks back at five significant people she's lost: a life told in deaths. Hodgen's writing spins out dependent clauses like carefully controlled ripples of language." Caroline Stanley (Starred Review)

Review:

"The protagonist is a nobody that everybody will root for." Colleen Hodgetts

Review:

"This book has heart....Christie Hodgen's prose embodies the paradox of really fine fiction, which travels to the universal through the particular." Jeffrey Ann Goudie

Review:

"Stunning....Each elegy is a riveting trip...made especially worthwhile by Hodgen's gorgeous prose.Elegies for the Brokenhearted is brilliant, gorgeous, illuminated writing. Hodgen writes like a Christian mystic who has God speaking through her mingled with her own wild, lyrical mix of popular culture and high art. What a voice!" Clancy Martin, author of How to Sell (Starred Review)

Review:

"This stellar novel shows us once again that Christie Hodgen is hilarious, hugely talented, and full of luminous passion. In inspired prose, she tells the stories of those who have strung themselves around the heart of Mary Murphy, that undefeated heroine who cannot stop speaking to her loved ones, long after they've left." Deb Olin Unferth, author of Vacation

Review:

"Deep, dark, and beautiful, Christie Hodgen's story of a fabulously flawed family reads like a quintessentially American tale....The generational cast of quirky, yet completely believable characters, the heartbreak and redemption as time unfolds, and Hodgen's biting humor and exquisite writing all add up to a tremendous novel. Book clubs: put this one on your lists. Lolly Winston, author of Happiness Sold Separately

About the Author

Christie Hodgen is the author of Elegies for the Brokenhearted; Hello, I Must Be Going; and A Jeweler's Eye for Flaw. She has won the AWP Award for Short Fiction and the Pushcart Prize. She teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she lives.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

@studiojude, October 20, 2014 (view all comments by @studiojude)
The kind of writing that takes your breath away.
That's all you need to know.
Read this collection of breathtakingly beautiful stories and you'll see what I mean.
Hodgen strings words together in a sumptuous style that makes you read sentences over and over.
Highly recommended.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Rachel King, September 4, 2012 (view all comments by Rachel King)
Next to the narrator's passionate and genuine nature, what I found most interesting about this novel was the structure. Five chapters, in the second person, each one addressed to a person who has deeply affected Mary's life in one way or another. It's a kind of rotating second person, a point of view I've never read in any other story or novel. It more than works, it's integral; I couldn't think of any other way to hear this story. Mary's hearfelt and resigned voice becomes stuck in my head as she describes the flawed people she has learned to love, because, more often than not, they were simply there. "This was life. This was the lesson we kept learning over and over and over, the lesson our mother was best capable of teaching us. Love, whatever else it might or might not be, was fleeting. Love stormed into your life and occupied it, it took over every corner of your soul, made itself comfortable, made itself wanted, then treasured, then necessary, love did all of this and then it did next the only thing it had left to do, it retreated, it vanished, it left no trace of itself. Love was horrifying." This love isn't, as is the preoccupation of many fiction writers, between significant others, but between an uncle and a niece, classmates, roommates, co-workers, and a mother and a daughter. This exploration of different kinds of relationships was refreshing. If you like Mary Gaitskill's work, you'll probably like this novel, because, like Gaitskill, Hodgen takes you into the darkness adjacent to love, but she does so with such restrained compassion and realism that you'll want to spend more time there.
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rrubinas, January 16, 2012 (view all comments by rrubinas)
These stories perfectly capture a segment of American life in the 1970s and 80s with such honesty and compassion that I was transported back to my own adolescence. Funny, heartbreaking and real.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780393340235
Author:
Hodgen, Christie
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Literature-Contemporary Women
Publication Date:
20110731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Contemporary Women
History and Social Science » Economics » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

Elegies for the Brokenhearted Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393340235 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Deeply, satisfyingly original....Elegies is the literary equivalent of a hand grenade."
"Review" by , "[An] absorbing novel....Hodgen's magnificent, heart-breaking journey with its moving finish is an unforgettable novel, a must-read.Knocked my socks off. It's a first-person novel told in second-person looks back at five significant people she's lost: a life told in deaths. Hodgen's writing spins out dependent clauses like carefully controlled ripples of language."
"Review" by , "The protagonist is a nobody that everybody will root for."
"Review" by , "This book has heart....Christie Hodgen's prose embodies the paradox of really fine fiction, which travels to the universal through the particular."
"Review" by , "Stunning....Each elegy is a riveting trip...made especially worthwhile by Hodgen's gorgeous prose.Elegies for the Brokenhearted is brilliant, gorgeous, illuminated writing. Hodgen writes like a Christian mystic who has God speaking through her mingled with her own wild, lyrical mix of popular culture and high art. What a voice!"
"Review" by , "This stellar novel shows us once again that Christie Hodgen is hilarious, hugely talented, and full of luminous passion. In inspired prose, she tells the stories of those who have strung themselves around the heart of Mary Murphy, that undefeated heroine who cannot stop speaking to her loved ones, long after they've left."
"Review" by , "Deep, dark, and beautiful, Christie Hodgen's story of a fabulously flawed family reads like a quintessentially American tale....The generational cast of quirky, yet completely believable characters, the heartbreak and redemption as time unfolds, and Hodgen's biting humor and exquisite writing all add up to a tremendous novel. Book clubs: put this one on your lists.
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