Synopses & Reviews
Hauntingly observant and insightful, this poignant debut novel delves into the intricate bonds between mothers and daughters and offers an unflinching, darkly funny look at the relationships between love, sex, and death.
Rachel Spark is an irreverent, sexually eager, financially unstable thirty-year-old college instructor who moves back home when her mother is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. As she tries to ease her mother, a perpetually cheerful woman, toward the inevitable, Rachel turns from one man to the next -- sometimes comically, sometimes catastrophically -- as if her own survival depended upon it.
"If I slept only with men who knew my full name, if I signed up for dance classes, if I ate more fruit -- even then there was no guarantee I'd get what I wanted," she thinks. And so she goes off with Johnny, who wears "all silk: black silk pants, a red silk shirt, even a silk band holding his hair in a ponytail." Or with Adam, an old boyfriend who remembers her with a bob she never had and tries to seduce her in his car with dark-tinted windows. Regardless of her unsuitable and unlikely bedmates, Rachel can't distract herself from what she knows about cancer -- that it disappears or returns, seemingly with a will of its own. But Rachel's not the only one struggling with the uncertain turns life takes...
Ella Bloom, an adult student in Rachel's poetry class, aspires to more than her work at a local family planning clinic. But she spends her nights wondering why her husband kissed one of her colleagues and whether it will lead to a full-fledged affair, and she is also preoccupied with one of her repeat patients, Georgia, a teenager who frequents the clinic and has a story of her own. What they all have in common is their desire for love, despite its many obstacles.
A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That is a novel rife with wit and compassion. A provocative, assured new voice in literary fiction, Lisa Glatt knows the yardsticks by which we constantly measure our world and ourselves -- devotion,lust, forgiveness, and courage.
"[K]eenly observed....Glatt's clear-eyed rendering of the complexities of relationships between friends and family enriches a story in which the steps toward healing are small and tentative, but moving nevertheless." Publishers Weekly
"Glatt makes a valiant try to parse the reasons for her characters' behaving foolishly, but she doesn't come up with much more than the usual mental anguish of troubled love and misdirected lives....Heartfelt but poorly built." Kirkus Reviews
"Lisa Glatt's novel is razor sharp and exceedingly funny. Reading it is sort of like acupuncture for the sexual organs thrilling and very very dangerous." Frederick Barthelme, author of Elroy Nights
"Lisa Glatt's novel, with its brilliant array of female characters, does the near-impossible it says something true about all women. This is the most honest book I've ever read about the complex relationship between women and their own bodies how they use them, and how they are betrayed by them." Susan Perabo, author of The Broken Places
"A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That is about everything that matters: love, lust, death, failure, the wish to stay in place, the ability to let go, the abiding connection between mothers and daughters. It is written with sly humor and a tender heart. This is a first novel that feels both rueful and hopeful and suggests that its author might be as endearing as she is smart." Daphne Merkin, author of Dreaming of Hitler
"Glatt had me at the title. And A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That only gets more impressive from there. A brilliant debut." Dany Levy, DailyCandy.com
Razor sharp and hauntingly observant, this poignant debut novel delves into the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships and offers an unflinchingly modern look at love, frailty, escapism, and death.
About the Author
Lisa Glatt was the winner of the 2002 Mississippi Review Prize for fiction. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Columbia, Other Voices, Indiana Review, and Swink. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband, the poet David Hernandez. Visit her website at www.lisaglatt.com.
Table of Contents
Dirk or Derrick or Dick
A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That
The Clinic That Ella Built
If a Tree Falls
What Angela Did to Fuck Things Up
Geography of the Mall
Blur of a Girl