Synopses & Reviews
is the debut collection by an author who first came to national attention with the 2001 publication of the title story in The New Yorker
Here are five stories, set in Southeast Asia and on the Indian subcontinent each on bearing the weight and substance of a short novella narrated by young women who find themselves, often as expatriates, face to face with the compelling circumstances of adult love. Living in unfamiliar places, according to new and often frightening rules, these characters become vulnerable in unexpected ways and learn, as a result, to articulate the romantic attraction to landscapes and cultures that are strange to them.
In "Lucky Girls," an American woman who has been involved in a five-year affair with a married Indian man feels bound, following his untimely death, to her memories of him, and to her adopted country. The protagonist of "Outside the Eastern Gate" returns to her childhood home in Delhi to discover a house still inhabited by the desperate and impulsive spirit of her mother who, years before, abandoned her family for a wild, dangerous journey across the Kyber Pass to Afghanistan. And, in "Letter from the Last Bastion," a teenage girl begins a correspondence with a middle-aged male novelist, who, having built his reputation writing about his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam, confides in her the secret truth of those experiences, and the lie that has defined his life as a man.
Lucky Girls marks the arrival of a writer of exceptional talents, one whose generosity of spirit, clarity of intellect and emotion, and skill in storytelling set her among today's most gifted and exciting young voices.
"[T]houghtful and entertaining....Freudenberger is more inventive and piquant when she probes characters' relationships to their adopted homelands..." Publishers Weekly
"Every story in this remarkable collection reveals the emergence of a truly prodigious talent." Richard Ford, author of A Multitude of Sins
"[G]orgeously written...a remarkably poised collection....Young writers as ambitious and as good as Nell Freudenberger give us reason for hope." Jennifer Schuessler, The New York Times Book Review
"Within the close confines of the short story form, Freudenberger's descriptive powers evoke precise visual settings that ache with loneliness....Lucky Girls doesn't have a single disappointment." Andrea Hoag, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[A] haunting assemblage....There isn't a weak story in the bunch....Freudenberger succeeds nicely in creating sharply focused pieces in which each detail directs the reader along a clear path." Robin Vidimos, The Denver Post
"Freudenberger has an acute, steady eye for the physical world, and she creates a scene and its mood through exacting detail....Quietly and stealthily, her insight has a way of sneaking up on the reader." Elisa Ludwig, San Francisco Chronicle
"[I]ntricately constructed, emotionally affecting tales....Instead of living up to the hype, Freudenberger gracefully transcends it, establishing herself as a talent to watch for years to come, rather than simply for her years." Elle
"The speakers are at best half explained, motivation remains a mystery, and you are left wanting a fuller explanation of events....The stories work best when read slowly...but at most we get a glimpse into a complicated scenario." Library Journal
"Five longish, often familiar, but always readable stories....Fiction more skillful than memorable." Kirkus Reviews
"The five stories are well-written, well-plotted, intelligent and surprising....Nell Freudenberger's book not only reminded me why I read, it also reminded me why I write." Curtis Sittenfeld, Salon.com
(read the entire Salon.com review
First highlighted in the New Yorker debut fiction issue, award-winning writer Nell Freudenberger's highly anticipated debut short story collection.
About the Author
Nell Freudenberger has taught English in Bangkok and New Delhi, and currently lives in New York City. Lucky Girls
is her first book.