Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Best Book You Haven't Read-YET

Ok. Full disclosure. Leora Skolkin-Smith is my friend but that doesn't mean I can't have a deeply critical mind toward her work. I do. We routinely swap pages and push each other to go further in our work, to dig deeper, to find the facets.We don't suffer fools, gladly or otherwise. I met her during a reading of my own a few years ago, a tiny “meet and greet the writer” in a little bookshop where I sat for hours waiting to meet and greet anyone other than the girl working the cash register.

No one showed up. No one.

My husband Jeff was there to hold my hand and offer solace, and then this whippet of a woman with long hair showed up with a box of cookies and a megawatt smile. Leora.

We’ve been friends ever since, but more than that, we’re also colleagues. Right up until the Writer’s Strike, I was about to do the screenplay for her novel Edges, which has been optioned for film. I carried Edges around with me on a beach vacation and reread it, marking it up for a script, trying to figure out how it was put together and what was the best way it might work. The more I read, the more excited I became because the book has so many different levels, and such brilliance. The pages still smell of chlorine and still have sand in the creases because I couldn't let the book alone. I had to keep reading and rereading to be lost in that world. In the end, I bought two copies just so I could mark one up and scribble obsessively in the margins.

The Fragile Mistress
strikes me the same way--and right now it's out making the rounds of publishers, agented by Tim Seldes and Jesseca Salky at
Russell & Volkening, Inc. It’s a breathtaker, a deeply intelligent and darkly hypnotic novel. Adrienne’s a young woman admitted into a mental hospital in New York City circa 1970s. Patty Hearst era. As Adrienne struggles to cope with this new world, she drifts back to her old ones: her troubled relationship with her boyfriend, her fractious bonds with her mother and father, until she finds solace in a world of her own making—alchemy notebooks. Forget Girl Interrupted—this is something very, very special, very literate, gorgeously written, and provocative.

1 comment:

Clea Simon said...

I can't wait to read this and I hope that by giving it a little more attention you'll wake up those editors out there who should be reading (and bidding on) this!