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S New York One is a young model stumbling away from the wreck of her career the other an eccentric middle aged office temp Over the next twenty years their friendship will encompass narcissism and tenderness exp. In Veronica Alison an aging model whose body is wracked with pain and disease looks back on her life in snapshots as if she is flipping through a portfolio of memories In her prime Alison was beautiful and flawed She related to the world with vanity but also with a vague sadness and misunderstanding She tells her stories as if her life is over in her 40s which I guess for Alison it is The most telling of the flashbacks involve the title character Veronica Alison dislikes her and begrudgingly befriends her but after Veronia finds out she has AIDS Alison out of both pity and self aggrandizement becomes one of the few friends to help her through the disease The friendship has a shiny photograpic uality even as it deals with the fleshy horrors of AIDS And Veronica though the title character is uite one dimensional relfecting the shallowness of Alison s view of her Gaitskill s prose is beautiful and haunting The reader is forced to look at the ugly side of physical beauty and the end of life sadness of a life lived literally in vain This is not an uplifting book but one that sheds light our cultural obsession with youth and beauty like nothing else I ve read I highly recommend it The Freeze-Frame Revolution portfolio of memories In her The New-York Review, and Atheneum Magazine, Vol. 2 prime Alison was beautiful and flawed She related to the world with vanity but also with a vague sadness and misunderstanding She tells her stories as if her life is over in her 40s which I guess for Alison it is The most telling of the flashbacks involve the title character Veronica Alison dislikes her and begrudgingly befriends her but after Veronia finds out she has AIDS Alison out of both His Christmas Cowgirl (Wildflower Ranch photograpic uality even as it deals with the fleshy horrors of AIDS And Veronica though the title character is uite one dimensional relfecting the shallowness of Alison s view of her Gaitskill s The Doctors Dating Bargain prose is beautiful and haunting The reader is forced to look at the ugly side of

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Veronica A Novel

Loitation and self sacrifice love and mortality Moving seamlessly from present and past casting a fierce yet compassionate eye on two eras and their fixations the result is a work of timeless depth and moral pow. I found this book so powerful that I couldn t write about it right away I ve had an ambivalent relationship to other work by Gaitskill I d only read her stories not her other novel I m fascinated by it but sometimes repelled The people and the situations often seemed ugly to the point that I wondered if an unconscious sadism wasn t at work Then I d wonder if that was only my sueamishness speaking I also sometimes had trouble picturing her characters who can be so contradictory that they don t even seem to cohere Yet the writer s willingness to take on difficult subjects and difficult characters and her strong prose kept me interested in her workNow comes Veronica While I was reading the novel I felt really down Perhaps it was the mood I was already in or perhaps it was the book itself some of both probably Yet I couldn t stop reading I had to know what was going to happen to everyone and how it was going to happen I had to get of those sentences The poetry was relentless beautiful almost painful Every page just bursting with unbelievable images It was like a fever dream which I guess was appropriate since the main character suffers from fevers And I felt clearly than in Gaitskill s stories that there really is a compassion at work I admire the hell out of this novel and think Gaitskill has done something new here

Read & Download Veronica A Novel

A finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award here is an evocative novel about female friendship in the glittering 1980sAlison and Veronica meet amid the nocturnal glamour of 1980. What stood out most loudly and violently were images of beauty so intense they were almost warped some of these images were human The fashion model seemed suddenly at the centre of the cultural world inextricably wound in with art music and cinema These human images snagged my imagination which twisted and turned reactively picking and chewing over them foolishly trying to get nourishment from them for I wanted to be part of this vibrant and powerful worldMary Gaitskill s Veronica is the intense and stylistic study of a friendship Of love pain illness and rejection set mostly in 1980 s New york it s a richly metaphorical tale set against the nocturnal glamorous tyranny of the fashion modelling industry and unfortunately for some during an eruption of AIDS cases There are moments when the world is at your feet a dream come true But also times when it s nothing than a sleazy degrading nightmare One thing is certain it pays well even if it means having to spend days in the company of complete arrogant sexist assholes For Allison and Veronica both would experience the highs and lows of this hectic ruthless and narcissistic lifestyle both would find ways to grow stronger but also succumb to weaknesses beyond their controlThe novel could be looked at as a kind of exercise in tainted nostalgia The narrator Allison is in her 40 s cleaning offices for a living as we go back through her thoughts to a time when she made it as a model It all started in Paris strutting her stuff on the catwalk and becoming the mistress of one of the city s most successful modelling agents she is still pretty young and not exactly wise in all her decisions losing a lot of money falling in and out with acuaintances some were never even worth knowing before ending up back in the States after her illicit relationship crashed and burned in the city of love After a stint back with her parents and sisters she heads off to The Big Apple looking for work And it s here she meets Veronica whilst proofreading as a temp a brash head strong former model twenty years her senior who shows unpredictable oddball behaviour and dates a bisexual Duncan who she adores Both seem mismatched and Allison finds her at times deplorable being appalled and fixated by Veronica in eual measures So to call the novel an out and out buddy story is misleading You never get the impression they are true friends but each still leaves an impression on the other In a strange way they seem the right fit but you also feel a coldheartedness between them like they wouldn t be bothered if they were never to meet again After Veronica is diagnosed with HIV she losing all those closest to her Allison is drawn to her than ever but with a strong sense of pity as she rapidly loses her health On the whole the novel carries a sombre feeling throughout portraying a brittle echoing emptiness for it s two leading ladies even though it s set in a booming New York bursting at the seems with life and partying The two main characters I eventually came to like with all their issues and hiccups along the way they were just two people trying to make their way in life Gaitskill speaks an emotion that is easy to relate to I was partially impressed with her richly drawn world bringing to life the downtown art scene of the decade for its beauty and glamour but also its fair share of grime and filth She sees the whole picture with a larger canvas of almost viscerally aching melancholy with depictions of some the most unsavoury elements of human interaction big themes being nihilism pity and rejection The plot is somewhat beside the point there isn t really one anyway as its structure relies on a frenetic assemblage of vignettes flashing between the 80 s and the present and my biggest praise for Gaitskill is it s humane and unsentimental approach mixing a cocktail of brutal loneliness with moments of raw tenderness and she gets down and dirty when the story needs to be Mary is not afraid to articulate the anguished thoughts and feelings from which we prefer to turn away But that s just life and the pains and joys beauty and ugliness that go with it I found it an engaging and penetrating work as soulful as it was sorid with characters who were realistic carrying flaws and problems like the rest of us There were a few moments that I found too uncomfortable and below the belt and it might have helped being a tad longer to give of a backstory to Veronica who still felt like a bit of an enigma to me but some of Gaitskill s sentences were just like wow Sincere and oh so truePondered on giving three stars but have upped it to four on deeper reflection


10 thoughts on “Veronica A Novel

  1. says:

    What stood out most loudly and violently were images of beauty so intense they were almost warped; some of these images were human The fashion model seemed suddenly at the centre of the cultural world inextricably wound in with art music and cinema These human images snagged my imagination which twisted and turned reactively picking and ch

  2. says:

    Veronica by Mary Gaitskill came very highly recommended It was on a lot of best of lists and I'd actually had it on my list of To Read for a wh

  3. says:

    I bet I'd be really inspired by this novel if I were a fiction writer Mary Gaitskill sees the world through no eyes but her own and she communicates that worldview with an unyielding series of remarkably inventiv

  4. says:

    In Veronica Alison an aging model whose body is wracked with pain and disease looks back on her life in snapshots as if she is flipping through a portfolio of memories In her prime Alison was beautiful and flawed She relate

  5. says:

    I read Veronica over the course of roughly 15 days sleep work play also took up some time It was addictive and mesmerizing and delirious and stunning and beautiful and expansive and breathless and depressing and hard and dev

  6. says:

    I mean I fight my middle age at every turn But some days you're just cranky about things younger writers younger people Younger subjects Mary Gaitskill can bring out the crank in anyone Or maybe just anyone my age She is a

  7. says:

    If you are looking for a dark gritty book look no further Even though the story bounces from past to present in every chapter once you get use

  8. says:

    As far as the story itself I thought it was lackluster and a bit pretentious I appreciated what Gaitskill was trying to do that she was trying to explore notions of superficiality and depth when it comes to personal interactions I also liked that she gave her two main characters these women who are by turns pitiful and infuriatingly self destructive a sense of dignity even though they were behaving in ways I found really sad an

  9. says:

    I found this book so powerful that I couldn't write about it right away I've had an ambivalent relationship to other work by Gaitskill I'd only read her stories not her other novel I'm fascinated by it but sometimes repelled The people and the situations often seemed ugly to the point that I wondered if an uncons

  10. says:

    I picked up Mary Gaitskill's 2006 novel Veronica as part of my ongoing disgust project and indeed it is a rich depository of fascinating uses of disgust Yet I find I can't bear to write simply about the disgust in the book without addressing its greater appeal I consciously avoid pronouncements about the Canon which books are Great and which

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