PAGES FOR YOU
The narrator of Brownrigg's thoroughly engaging new novel asks this question of her departed lover: "What would happen if I wrote some pages for you? Each day a page... to show you that I am finding a story, the story of how we might have been together, once." What follows is roughly 100 short chapters chronicling the rise and fall of one woman's first love. Flannery Jansen, 17 and fresh from a "one-horse town" in California, falls headlong for a teaching assistant at the tony (and never named) East Coast university she attends. Page by page, Brownrigg captures—in delicious and witty prose—the rapture and humiliation of first love: first sight, first words, first flirtation, first gift, first kiss, first night, first declaration, first fight and, as the prologue gives away, first betrayal. A lesser writer would be swamped in sentimentality, but Brownrigg handles her material with great good humor and vitality. Readers familiar with Brownrigg's first two books, the novel The Metaphysical Touch and the story collection Ten Women Who Shook the World, know that her characterizations are deft and spare. Here, in pitch-perfect dialogue, she conveys the dueling attitudes of an aspiring writer from the West and a teaching assistant deeply schooled in traditional literary criticism and academic mores. That Flannery's lover, Anne Arden, is a woman is not quite beside the point. The lovers are well aware others might find them "freaks." But refreshingly, Brownrigg doesn't make Flannery and Anne victims. They are simply two girls in love—which shouldn't put any readers off. This exquisitely written, bittersweet Valentine of a novel is for any reader who has ever been in a romantic relationship and wants to remember and revel in all the foolish things we do for love. (Apr.)Forecast: Brownrigg's audience of discerning readers will grow with this book, which booksellers may recommend for its wit, fast-moving pace and emotional candor; the sexy jacket speaks for itself.
Release date: 04/01/2001