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The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

by

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing Cover

 

 

Excerpt

My brother's first serious girlfriend was eight years older—twenty-eight to his twenty. Her name was Julia Cathcart, and Henry introduced her to us in early June. They drove from Manhattan down to our cottage in Loveladies, on the New Jersey shore. When his little convertible, his pet, pulled into the driveway, she was behind the wheel. My mother and I were watching from the kitchen window. I said, "He lets her drive his car."

My brother and his girlfriend were dressed alike, baggy white shirts tucked into jeans, except she had a black cashmere sweater over her shoulders.

She had dark eyes, high cheekbones, and beautiful skin, pale, with high coloring in her cheeks like a child with a fever. Her hair was back in a loose ponytail, tied with a piece of lace, and she wore tiny pearl earrings.

I thought maybe she'd look older than Henry, but it was Henry who looked older than Henry. Standing there, he looked like a man. He'd grown a beard, for starters, and had on new wire-rim sunglasses that made him appear more like a bon vivant than a philosophy major between colleges. His hair was longer, and, not yet lightened by the sun, it was the reddish-brown color of an Irish setter.

He gave me a kiss on the cheek, as though he always had.

Then he roughed around with our Airedale, Atlas, while his girlfriend and mother shook hands. They were clasping fingertips, ladylike, smiling as though they were already fond of each other and just waiting for details to fill in why.

Julia turned to me and said, "You must be Janie."

"Most people call me Jane now," I said, making myself sound even younger.

"Jane," she said, possibly in the manner of an adult trying to take a child seriously.

Henry unpacked the car and loaded himself up with everything they'd brought, little bags and big ones, a string tote, and a knapsack.

As he started up the driveway, his girlfriend said, "Do you have the wine, Hank?"

Whoever Hank was, he had it.

Except for bedrooms and the screened-in porch, our house was just one big all-purpose room, and Henry was giving her a jokey tour of it: "This is the living room," he said, gesturing to the sofa; he paused, gestured to it again and said, "This is the den."

Out on the porch, she stretched her legs in front of her—Audrey Hepburn relaxing after dance class. She wore navy espadrilles. I noticed that Henry had on penny Loafers without socks, and he'd inserted a subway token in the slot where the penny belonged.

Julia sipped her ice tea and asked how Loveladies got its name. We didn't know, but Henry said, "It was derived from the Indian name of the founder."

Julia smiled, and asked my mother how long we'd been coming here.

"This is our first year," my mother said.

My father was out playing tennis, and without him present, I felt free to add a subversive, "We used to go to Nantucket."

"Nantucket is lovely," Julia said.

"It is lovely," my mother conceded, but went on to cite drab points in New Jersey's favor, based on its proximity to our house in Philadelphia.

In the last of our New Jersey versus Nantucket debates, I'd argued, forcefully I'd thought, that Camden was even closer. I'd almost added that the trash dump was practically in walking distance, but my father had interrupted.

I could tell he was angry, but he kept his voice even: we could go to the shore all year round, he said, and that would help us to be a closer family.

"Not so far," I said, meaning to add levity.

But my father looked at me with his eyes narrowed, like he wasn't sure I was his daughter after all.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780140293241
Author:
Bank, Melissa
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Author:
Banks, Melissa
Author:
Stigsson, Lina
Subject:
General
Subject:
Man-woman relationships
Subject:
Young women
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Short stories
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20000531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
7.74x5.14x.77 in. .50 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Contemporary
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Penguin Books - English 9780140293241 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , This is one of those rare occasions when a highly touted book fulfills the excitement and the major money (in this case, $275,000) surrounding its acquisition. Reading her debut collection of seven tightly interlinked stories featuring (with one exception) heroine Jane Rosenal, one marvels at Bank's assured control of her material, her witty, distinctive voice and her ability to find comedy, pathos and drama in ordinary lives without resorting to the twin crutches of dysfunctional families and sexual abuse that seem to prop up much current fiction. Jane is notable above all for her smart, irreverent sense of humor, evidenced in a typical teenager's mocking attitude when we first meet her at age 14, and irrepressibly sardonic and self-deprecating as she gets older, enters and leaves relationships and progressively doubts her ability to inspire or recognize romantic love. From girlhood, Jane is bewildered by the nuances of adult behavior, which seems like a secret code evident to everyone but her: "I should know this already" is her recurrent lament. She looks for insights everywhere: in her fickle brother's succession of girlfriends, in her parents' affectionate (but, as it turns out, secretive) marital bond, in the attractions between other couples. From her childhood in a Philadelphia suburb and the Jersey shore to her adult life in Manhattan (with visits to St. Croix and upstate New York), she is always testing the limits of her understanding and tending to doubt her perceptions. Though Jane is quick with a quip, she's sensitive and vulnerable, and when she finds herself falling for a handsome editor 28 years her senior, she knows she is out of her depth. Eventually, we follow Jane through several failed love affairs; career crises in publishing (a chapter about a viperish female editor is a gem) and advertising; the wrenching deaths of loved ones; and increasing fears that she'll never learn to play the mating game. By the time readers reach the final, title story, they'll be so firmly attached to self-doubting Jane that they'll track her misguided seduction of Mr. Right with drawn breath. "Beautiful and funny and sad and true" (to quote Jane), this book is also phenomenally good. Agent, Molly Friedrich at Aaron Priest. First serial to Cosmopolitan and Zoetrope; BOMC and QPB alternates; Penguin audio; author tour; foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Holland, Norway and Denmark. (June) FYI: Bank is writing the screenplay of this book for Francis Ford Coppola and Zoetrope studios. Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Review" by , "As hilarious as the Girls? Guide is, there?s a wise, serious core here that distinguishes Ms. Bank."
"Review" by , "Believe the hype: Jane?s touching (but unsentimental) career and love trials ring true."
"Review" by , "A smart, ruefully funny chronicle of a modern young womans search for love.... Bank has created a delightful heroine who deserves her happy endingeven though any reader who has really been paying attention to the sharp, unsentimental details knows that all happy endings are provisional."
"Synopsis" by ,
A critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, this spirited and wickedly insightful narrative maps the progress of fourteen-year- old Jane Rosenal as she navigates the perilous terrain of love, sex, and relationships, capturing-with perfect pitch-what it's like to be a young woman in America today.

"Synopsis" by , As it explores the life lessons of Jane, the contemporary American Everywoman--who combines the charm of Bridget Jones, the vulnerability of Ally McBeal, and the wit of Lorrie Moore--"The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing" offers wise, poignant, and laugh-out-loud insight.

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