Home » Book Biz » BOOK BIZ — Narcissistic fashion world background for tale of friendship

BOOK BIZ — Narcissistic fashion world background for tale of friendship

This award-winning book is an odd story — sometimes twisted — that compels the reader to continue to the end. First published in 2005 and again in 2006, it’s the story of a 20-year friendship between two women as told through the thoughts of a stumbling, wreck-of-a-life former model, Alison.

Veronica is the eccentric middle-aged office temp who somehow strikes a chord with Alison, who’s caught up in the chaos and drug-ridden scene of the glamour of 1980s New York City. Alison has escaped her dysfunctional home and then escaped the Paris modeling scene where she was the pawn of a powerful man of the fashion industry. The author pulls no punches in describing the cut-throat world of fashion in Paris and New York and what the models go through; often as teenagers.

The friendship of Veronica and Alison encompasses narcissism, tenderness, exploitation, self-sacrifice, love and mortality. The story moves seamlessly from present to past and back again. It’s a passionate story of success and failure, vanity and pride, despair and acceptance. The New York Times Book Review wrote, “Gaitskill is enormously gifted … Veronica is a masterly examination of the relationship between surface and self, culture and fashion, time and memory.”

We follow the angst of Alison’s life through the post-modeling days as she deals with the loss of beauty and youth — those twin altars of the fashion culture at which she’s worshipped. Her torment is set against the gritty reality of Veronica’s life, including a serious illness and a lover’s betrayal. Through love for her friend and then the loss of her friend, Alison is able to work her way through her own demons.

Veronica was a National Book Award finalist, a New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year, a Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist, and a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist.

Gaitskill teaches creative writing at Syracuse University and is the author of Because They Wanted To, Two Girls, Fat and Thin, and Bad Behavior.

— Lynn Lofton, mbj@msbusiness.com

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About Lynn Lofton

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