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Description - Confessions of a Falling Woman by Debra Dean

A collection of short stories from the acclaimed author of The Madonnas of Leningrad This collection of short stories by Debra Dean, author of critically acclaimed novel 'The Madonnas of Leningrad', explores turning points in lives on the brink of change. Each of the characters she brings to vivid life in these pages is either facing up to, or coming to terms with, a significant moment in their lives -- from the prodigal daughter returning home for an intervention with her domineering alcoholic mother, to a woman unexpectedly rediscovering love with her ex-husband. In writing that is by turns sharply observed and delicately nuanced, Dean brings into focus shifting spectrum of human emotions. Yet there is nothing sensational about these stories -- rather they centre on the quiet moments when reflection gives way to moments of truth: like the narrator in 'Confessions of a Falling Woman', writing to her ex-husband years after their separation in order to lay to rest the tragic death of their daughter and set the record straight as she faces up to an illness of her own; or the best man at a wedding letting go of the lingering feelings he harboured for a previous life. Among these poignant vignettes, there are also flashes of humour. 'What the Left Hand Is Saying' is a caustic tale of a group of housemates who are brought together -- and ultimately betrayed -- by a visitor who enchants them with a Pied Piper-like charm, while 'The Afterlife of Lyle Stone' is a darkly comic tale of one man's nervous breakdown.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780007216673
ISBN-10: 000721667X
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 11mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Fourth Estate Ltd
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 1-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Confessions of a Falling Woman by Debra Dean

Book Reviews - Confessions of a Falling Woman by Debra Dean

US Kirkus Review » An attractive wry humor ripples through this collection of ten stories, which follows Dean's debut novel (The Madonnas of Leningrad, 2006). The humor is evident in the opening story, "What the Left Hand Is Saying," a cute riff on All About Eve. Tim, a seemingly innocent young charmer, makes friends with his neighbors in his New York building, then skewers them mercilessly at a comedy club and lands a slot on a cable channel. That's show business. Performers also appear in "Romance Manual," a decidedly unromantic account of a one-night stand on the road in Florida, and in "Dan in the Gray Flannel Rat Suit," the longest piece by far, a bittersweet valentine to the acting profession (Dean is a former actor). In the story, Dan spends more time tending bar than acting, but he eventually gets a couple of breaks. Ironically, he sails through his audition for a challenging role in a hot off-Broadway play, but he messes up a dumb commercial. There's high drama, too, in "The Queen Mother," about a crisis intervention. A large Southern family is trying to steer its alcoholic matriarch into a rehab clinic; again, the humor is dark. There's nothing humorous, however, about the midlife crisis of a successful Seattle lawyer in "The Afterlife of Lyle Stone"; the story suggests, chillingly, that the cure may be worse than the disease. That satisfying payoff is missing from "The Best Man," in which a recovering alcoholic yearns fleetingly to stray from his happy marriage, and from "The Bodhisattva," about a woman's unrequited love for her former shrink. But everything comes together in the beautifully calibrated "Another Little Piece of My Heart." For middle-aged Elaine, a chance encounter with her ex yields an unexpected journey into self-knowledge and maybe, just maybe, offers opportunity for a fresh start. Dean has a fine appreciation for the way chance can save or doom careers and marriages. More, please. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Debra Dean

Debra Dean worked as an actor in the New York theatre for nearly a decade before opting for the life of a writer. She lives with her husband in Seattle, where she teaches literature and writing. Her first novel was 'The Madonnas of Leningrad'.

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