From her patrician childhood on New York?s Upper East Side, to her chemical addictions downtown, and her unlikely, tenuous yet rewarding alliances on 12-step rehab programs in the Midwest, Glory gives us an uncensored and irreverent account of her experiences scoring dope on the streets and seeking redemption in recovery. The straight road has never had so many turns as Glory hooks up with other casualties from the chemical generation. There?s ex-Sister Jacqueline who fled the convent of the Sisters of Patience with the baby Jesus under her arm, ever relapsing gun freak Dooley who wants to be sober but is always drunk and Zemecki, so immersed in his lonely torpor that he can only express love for his ex-girlfriend?s cat. In this streetwise and sardonic book, Glory finds love and work whilst steering clear of self-pity and ?happy-talk?: she very determinedly goes and gets some. Winner of the prestigious Whiting Award for young writers, Emily Carter is that rare combination: a writer who can do very dark lightly.
Effing awesome. The language in this is extraordinary and experimental even. Carter also has such a wonderfully powerful- in your face - provocative voice which isn't always something I've been exposed to from a female writer, yet she also retains a level of self humility and raw brokeness I admire.
Short stories of addiction and recovery, raw and honest accounts of the horrible nature of them. There was a story in here close to the story of a woman I bought a hat from once and that haunted me. I wonder still if it's her story? I gave Andrew the hat as a gift, it was a special hat he loved and didn't own it that long. Not long after she died, he lost the hat and always felt bad about it. Like a part of that woman was lost too.
Always interesting and sometimes dazzling, a collection of stories and fragments from the life of a self-destructive upper middle-class bad girl.
Emily Carter grew up in a privileged Upper East Side home, the daughter of feminist writer Anne Roiphe, and proceeded to explore other options, ending up a HIV+ recovering junkie. Presumably autobiographical, these linked stories about a recovering addict named Glory, set largely in New York City and Minneapolis (the addiction and recovery capitals of the nation, respectively), display an intimate and knowing familiarity with the life of the addict and the rehabs and 12-step groups it leads to. While the many short riffs, exercises in voice and mood, like the remarkable "East on Houston," in which a young girl floats across New York City's Houston Street, borne on the voices of men reaching out to caress or assault, are hit and miss, the collection's real strength are the longer, more developed stories. Carter's eye for detail and ear for the rhetoric of recovery, her feel for people trying to make sense of their lives, turn what could be amusing glosses into moving portraits. In "Parachute Silk," Glory rejects the awkward advances of a recovering friend, sending him back to the comforts of his drug of choice. In "Zemecki's Cat," a recovering addict a few years sober walks through an austere and lonely life (his last girlfriend left a cat behind, with a note: "Here. Practice on this."), until circumstances open him to something like love. In the book's centerpiece, "The Bride," a telescoped memoir of searching unhappiness, Glory's mother, a swooning feminist, teaches her to look to men for definition, and Glory comes to see herself as the Bride of Frankenstein, fit only for the monstrous, misunderstood, outcast, until a recovery epiphany born of a near suicide reveals to her her own humanity.
Uneven collection, but Carter's humor, insight and lyricism win out over occasionally self-indulgent, obvious or familiar moments.
I bought this book in a second hand shop in Freemantle, Austalia and was delighted to have discovered this writer (and disappointed to find she hasn't written much more). Her prose is beautifully crafted overall. Even the pieces that are a bit too whimsical for my taste ("Minneapolis", intro to "Falling Friends") have gorgeous bits. "Zemecki's Cat" and "Parachute Silk" are masterpieces that sucker punch you in the gut with their honesty and humanity. This writer has rare insight into human nature and respects her characters-- like Nelson Algren who is quoted at book's beginning. (How could I resist a book that quotes Algren?) The stories flow and give a good sense of main character Glory's life, complete with spans of lost time, regrets, and hopes; a more conventional structure would have deadened this piece. Carter's voice is original; her work may appeal to fans of Algren and Raymond Carver.
This fetchingly titled, début collection of interlinked short stories concerns a still often-ignored demographic: HIV-positive young women from the middle and upper-middle classes. The protagonist is fresh out of rehab and has some hilarious things to say about the American recovery community. In her sardonic but heartfelt chronicle of getting beyond heroin and alcohol abuse, she meets “an awful lot of people...who talked the talk, all the time. Their faces seemed to glow, and they’d go on and on about ‘getting it,’ ‘getting’ the program, having that much-touted aura of serenity about them. It was my experience that such persons usually relapsed and stole their roommate’s stereo equipment, or charged five thousand dollars worth of lingerie at Neiman Marcus.”
This book started strong. I was absolutely mesmerized by the writing in the first half of the book. The Glory stories were raw and truthful and beautiful. In the second half of the book, though, Glory becomes a less prominent character and the writing seemed to lose some of the sharpness it had in the first half. The stories were more traditional and less compelling.
Still, this book deserves four stars for being some of the best short story writing published today.
Whenever I find myself getting bored and skimming, that's when a book only gets one or two stars for being redundant. I have trouble sympathizing with characters, in this case one very egotistical female character, who glory in self-destructive behavior. Once we finally got around to the "AIDS" part and all its glory it was time to get off this snowball and go read some Coetzee. Hey, we should get those two together!
I hated it. I loved it. I wanted to throw it across the room. It made me cry unexpectedly, usually on the subway, which just increased my love/hate relationship with it. In the end I was glad I read it and would recommend it to others, but just be warned that you may have the same kind of reaction and don't give up!
Ignore the tacky cover pictured here (or go for the Picador edition if you can find it). If you've ever been caught by addiction or love or Minnesota or funny women, you should read this book. And you probably should if you haven't, because you will be. The title story is brilliant.
The spirit of humor, even whilst in the throws of self-destruction, is devestatingly honest. I'm recommending this book to a Dr. friend who's an HIV specialist who works at the local free clinic . . . I'll report back his findings.
at first i really liked the style of this person's writing . before end of book though, i was pretty depressed and couldnt get through last story or two. i know- i am way too impressionable..... would like to check out any other things by this author though.
You know that cheap thrill you get when some book you're reading or show you're watching mentions your provincial hometown? The cool thing about Glory is there's lots of thrills in addition to that type of thrill.
I don't know how I missed this when it came out. Creative, well written and solid, Carter sets several stories right out of rehab. She calls MN "the land of 10,000 recovery centers". She's right. Anyway, a pleasure to read.