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Dear Exile: The Story of a Friendship Separated (for a Year) by an Ocean (Vintage Departures)by Hilary Liftin
Synopses & Reviews
A funny and moving story told through the letters of two women nurturing a friendship as they are separated by distance, experience, and time.
Close friends and former college roommates, Hilary Liftin and Kate Montgomery promised to write when Kate's Peace Corps assignment took her to Africa. Over the course of a single year, they exchanged an offbeat and moving series of letters from rural Kenya to New York City and back again.
Kate, an idealistic teacher, meets unexpected realities ranging from poisonous snakes and vengeful cows to more serious hazards: a lack of money for education; a student body in revolt. Hilary, braving the singles scene in Manhattan, confronts her own realities, from unworthy suitors to job anxiety and first apartment woes. Their correspondence tells--with humor, warmth, and vivid personal detail--the story of two young women navigating their twenties in very different ways, and of the very special friendships we are sometimes lucky enough to find.
"Engaging travel literature, a witty exploration of modern women's lives, and a testament to the power and blessing of friendship." Publishers Weekly
"These letters are witty, real, charming, smart, touching, and amazingly unselfconscious. Truly, Dear Exile was for me love at first word." Elinor Lipman, author of Isabel's Bed
"I love Dear Exile, and I love the women in it. I opened it one afternoon, then just couldn't put it down. Here is a girlfriend relationship that I actually recognize. Their humor, love, and world view is to me, simply, perfection." Whitney Otto, author of How to Make an American Quilt
"Throughout the exchange, both women combine humor and gravity in describing the challenges they face. Dear Exile is most striking for the global perspective it offers readers in juxtaposing Liftin's urban woes with the hardships faced by Montgomery and her Kenyan neighbors." Jane Manners, Brill's Content
"A nearly perfect book about the sweet pleasure of friendship. Reading [Dear Exile] is like spending time with a smart, affectionate, perceptive, effortlessly funny companion....The letters [are] like an uninterrupted conversation that never loses its harmony, with longing and affection and that quick, beautifully calibrated code in which best friends speak." San Francisco Chronicle
"Elegantly written, this correspondence reads like miniature essays on subjects as diverse as loneliness, clementines, the joy (and pain) of cybersex, and how to behave while one's concrete hut is being exorcised. Above all, this book affirms the power of friendship as expressed in the nearly lost art of letter writing." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Hilary Liftin grew up in Washington, DC. In 1991 she graduated from Yale University, where she was the editor of the Yale Literary Magazine. She has worked in book publishing as an associate editor of nonfiction and literary fiction and as an editor/producer at several websites. She currently develops online products for Muze, a provider of digital information about music, videos and books, in New York City.
Kate Montgomery was raised in Wakefield, Rhode Island. She studied at Yale and Columbia Universiities, and has spent time teaching in both Czechoslovakia and Kenya. Kate has previously co-authored a non-fiction book A Teacher's Guide to Standardized Reading Tests. She is currently on leave from her job as a high school English teacher in Harlem to raise, with her husband David Hackenburg, their new son, Kobi.
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