Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class XML_Parser in /home/sites/www.americanpoems.com/web/store/aom/includes/os.php on line 1188

Strict Standards: Declaration of XML_Parser::raiseError() should be compatible with PEAR::raiseError($message = NULL, $code = NULL, $mode = NULL, $options = NULL, $userinfo = NULL, $error_class = NULL, $skipmsg = false) in /home/sites/www.americanpoems.com/web/store/aom/includes/os.php on line 1604

Strict Standards: Declaration of XML_Unserializer::startHandler() should be compatible with XML_Parser::startHandler($xp, $elem, &$attribs) in /home/sites/www.americanpoems.com/web/store/aom/includes/os.php on line 3503

Strict Standards: Declaration of Cache_Lite_File::get() should be compatible with Cache_Lite::get($id, $group = 'default', $doNotTestCacheValidity = false) in /home/sites/www.americanpoems.com/web/store/aom/includes/cache.php on line 1020
American Poems: Books: Autobiography of Us: A Novel
Home
Apparel
Appliances
Books
DVD
Electronics
Home & Garden
Kindle eBooks
Magazines
Music
Outdoor Living
Software
Tools & Hardware
PC & Video Games
Location:
 Home » Books » Autobiography of Us: A Novel

Autobiography of Us: A Novel

Autobiography of Us: A Novel
Other Views:
  • List Price: $25.00
  • Buy New: $0.95
  • as of 10/23/2014 08:02 EDT details
  • You Save: $24.05 (96%)
In Stock
  • Seller:underlandbooks
  • Sales Rank:665,620
  • Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
  • Media:Hardcover
  • Number Of Items:1
  • Pages:304
  • Shipping Weight (lbs):1
  • Dimensions (in):9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1
  • Publication Date:February 5, 2013
  • ISBN:9780805094558
  • EAN:9780805094558
  • ASIN:0805094555
Availability:Usually ships in 1-2 business days

Features:
  • A gripping debut novel about friendship, loss and love; a confession of what passed between two women who met as girls in 1960s Pasadena, California Coming of age in the patrician neighborhood of Pasadena, California during the 1960s, Rebecca Madden and her beautiful, reckless friend Alex dream of lives beyond their mothers' narrow expectations. Their struggle to define themselves against the backdrop of an American cultural revolution unites them early on, until one sweltering evening the summer before their last year of college, when a single act of betrayal changes everything. Decades later, Rebecca's haunting meditation on the past reveals the truth about that night, the years that followed, and the friendship that shaped her. Autobiography of Us is an achingly beautiful portrait of a decades-long bond. A rare and powerful glimpse into the lives of two women caught between repression and revolution, it casts new light on the sacrifices, struggles, victories and defeats of a generation.
  • Product Details Hardcover: 304 pages Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (February 5, 2013) Language: English ISBN-10: 9780805094558 ISBN-13: 978-0805094558 ASIN: 0805094555 Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies) Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (82 customer reviews) Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) Did we miss any relevant features for this product? Tell us what we missed. Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price? Editorial Reviews Amazon.com Review Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2013: Aria Beth Sloss should be proud of herself. Her exquisite debut novel does the extraordinary: It takes a cliché concept (a coming-of-age story) and makes it compelling without any frills or gimmicks. There is no apocalypse, no war-ravaged city, and no vampires. Just two women, friends since grade school, attempting to navigate 1960s Pasadena, a time and place oppressive to women who dared dream beyond life as a housewife. The narrator, Rebecca, wants to be a doctor, but taking science classes at college brings shame on her family because that is not the path a girl searching for a husband takes. Alex, her best friend, wants to be an actress. Her star burns bright, drawing Rebecca into her inner circle; unsurprisingly, though, it ultimately burns everyone around her. Their friendship is complicated and messy, full of love and hate and unshakable loyalty. Autobiography of Us is fiction that reads like real life. It claws at the truth of what drives us and how we deal with the disappointments of dreams that do not come true. --Caley Anderson
  • Maggie Shipstead: What are the origins of Autobiography of Us? Did you start with setting, characters, story? You're a lifelong East Coaster, but the book opens in Pasadena in the 1960s. I'm curious what drew you to that region and era. Aria Beth Sloss: Autobiography began as a series of questions about my mother, who was raised in Pasadena during roughly the same timeframe. Though I grew up in Boston, my family flew to California every year to spend time with my maternal grandparents, so from a very young age I knew Pasadena as the place where my mother had grown up. It comes as a shock, that moment when you realize your parents were once young. Suddenly, they're people. With that peoplehood comes a past. With that past comes questions, which in my case took on a certain urgency as I entered my twenties. I could say something nobler drove me, but the truth is that I started this book--a book which explores women coming of age during the era in which my mother came of age--out of sheer frustration with what I saw as the limitations facing young women coming of age in my own era. In the end, Autobiography sprang from, as I suppose all novels do, an intensely personal quest. MS: Rebecca and Alex in your novel have a powerful, permanent friendship but are barbed, even hostile sometimes, in the way they communicate with each other. I find that my friendships with women are rich and important but often also fraught. Did you think a lot about the nature of female friendship while you were writing? Did the writing change the way you think about your own life at all? ABS: One of the astonishing things that kept happening to me while working on the book was that I kept discovering, and re-discovering, what it was about. It wasn't until two to three years after I started writing Autobiography that I began to see Alex as a central figure. Even then, it took another year for me to understand the relationship between Alex and Rebecca as the book's core. Which is all to say th
  • In the case of Autobiography, the word "evolution" is polite a word to apply to the process this book underwent from start to finish. You'd be better off asking how it is that I managed to drive a train into the ground a dozen--two dozen, three dozen--times and still manage to salvage something resembling a train at the end. That's more or less how it felt. For me, writing a novel meant surrendering any sense of control, and then digging up the courage to assume control. I did this again, and again, and again. MS: What are some books and writers that influenced Autobiography of Us? Are these the same books and writers that influence you generally? ABS: I hadn't read Mary McCarthy's The Group when I started Autobiography, but I knew it existed. Just knowing there was a book out there that dealt with the question of how women fit into the framework of American society reassured me there was room in the world for the story I wanted to tell. Kate Walbert's magnificent Our Kind, which I'd read many times, served a similar purpose. Still, I'd be lying if I said I spent those years working on Autobiography looking only to books with similar subject material for inspiration. What I looked for then is what I always look for--a voice I can't shake. Marilynne Robinson is someone I turn to again and again. But there are so many contemporary writers whose work I feel privileged to read. Alongside the old favorites--Charlotte Bronte, Nabokov, Faulkner, Edith Wharton--come new heroes: Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Helen Dewitt, Anthony Doerr, Zadie Smith, Andrew Sean Greer, Junot Diaz... on and on. To those who think fiction is a dying art, I say: you're just not paying attention. From Booklist Lonely and bright, an only child brought up by parents less flush than her peers' parents, Rebecca turns to new-girl Alex like a flower to the sun. In ever-vernal 1960s Pasadena, opposites Rebecca and Alex become fast and fierce friends, stuck together like two ends of a battery. Their char
  • Most Helpful Customer Reviews 34 of 37 people found the following review helpful A tale of a complex female friendship with a shocking climax. A must read. By K. Corn TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2013 Format: Hardcover Amazon Verified Purchase I didn't intend to read this one through in a single sitting but I couldn't help it. I was quickly engrossed by the author's description of Rebecca and her early and lasting connection to Alexandra: "We found each other like two animals recognizing a similar species." It would be enough if this was a well- written tale of the often tumultuous bond between these two women through the years. But it is so much more. it is also a rich portrait of the 60s and an unflinching view of women's choices in those years.. The portrayals of Rebecca and Alexandra are vivid and richly layered - yes, friends but sometimes antagonists, almost two halves of a puzzle. They may seem to resemble each,other but they are far from identical. Yet even when they are separated Rebecca feels compelled to write letters to Alexandra. She doesn't send them but they still serve a purpose, allowing Rebecca to imagine her friend beside her, listening. There are some striking differences between the two women. Rebecca is envious of Alexandra's more privileged life and embarrassed by her own relative poverty. For her part, Alexandra is impatient with Rebecca, pushing her to be more direct and less obtuse. Alexandra also struck me as more skilled in ferreting out Rebecca's secrets What ultimately hooked me, pulled me into Autobiography of Us, was more than the women's complicated relationship, although it was wonderfully depicted. It was also the vivid and detailed examination of how female dreams and aspirations were affected by some hard realities in the 60s -as reflected in Rebecca and Alexandra's lives. I remember those years, making the book especially resonant for me.Read more ›


Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis

A gripping debut novel about friendship, loss and love; a confession of what passed between two women who met as girls in 1960s Pasadena, California

Coming of age in the patrician neighborhood of Pasadena, California during the 1960s, Rebecca Madden and her beautiful, reckless friend Alex dream of lives beyond their mothers' narrow expectations. Their struggle to define themselves against the backdrop of an American cultural revolution unites them early on, until one sweltering evening the summer before their last year of college, when a single act of betrayal changes everything.  Decades later, Rebecca’s haunting meditation on the past reveals the truth about that night, the years that followed, and the friendship that shaped her.
 
Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss is an achingly beautiful portrait of a decades-long bond. A rare and powerful glimpse into the lives of two women caught between repression and revolution, it casts new light on the sacrifices, struggles, victories and defeats of a generation.

Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2013: Aria Beth Sloss should be proud of herself. Her exquisite debut novel does the extraordinary: It takes a cliché concept (a coming-of-age story) and makes it compelling without any frills or gimmicks. There is no apocalypse, no war-ravaged city, and no vampires. Just two women, friends since grade school, attempting to navigate 1960s Pasadena, a time and place oppressive to women who dared dream beyond life as a housewife. The narrator, Rebecca, wants to be a doctor, but taking science classes at college brings shame on her family because that is not the path a girl searching for a husband takes. Alex, her best friend, wants to be an actress. Her star burns bright, drawing Rebecca into her inner circle; unsurprisingly, though, it ultimately burns everyone around her. Their friendship is complicated and messy, full of love and hate and unshakable loyalty. Autobiography of Us is fiction that reads like real life. It claws at the truth of what drives us and how we deal with the disappointments of dreams that do not come true. --Caley Anderson

Amazon Exclusive: Maggie Shipstead Interviews Aria Beth Sloss

Maggie Shipstead: What are the origins of Autobiography of Us? Did you start with setting, characters, story? You're a lifelong East Coaster, but the book opens in Pasadena in the 1960s. I'm curious what drew you to that region and era.

Aria Beth Sloss: Autobiography began as a series of questions about my mother, who was raised in Pasadena during roughly the same timeframe. Though I grew up in Boston, my family flew to California every year to spend time with my maternal grandparents, so from a very young age I knew Pasadena as the place where my mother had grown up. It comes as a shock, that moment when you realize your parents were once young. Suddenly, they're people. With that peoplehood comes a past. With that past comes questions, which in my case took on a certain urgency as I entered my twenties. I could say something nobler drove me, but the truth is that I started this book--a book which explores women coming of age during the era in which my mother came of age--out of sheer frustration with what I saw as the limitations facing young women coming of age in my own era. In the end, Autobiography sprang from, as I suppose all novels do, an intensely personal quest.

MS: Rebecca and Alex in your novel have a powerful, permanent friendship but are barbed, even hostile sometimes, in the way they communicate with each other. I find that my friendships with women are rich and important but often also fraught. Did you think a lot about the nature of female friendship while you were writing? Did the writing change the way you think about your own life at all?

ABS: One of the astonishing things that kept happening to me while working on the book was that I kept discovering, and re-discovering, what it was about. It wasn't until two to three years after I started writing Autobiography that I began to see Alex as a central figure. Even then, it took another year for me to understand the relationship between Alex and Rebecca as the book's core. Which is all to say that I was surprised, four years in, to discover I'd written a novel focused on the relationship between two women. It makes sense: I wanted to write about women who came of age in this particular time and place. But I think I also just wanted to write about love. Towards the end of revising, when Rebecca and Alex's relationship had surfaced as the novel's throughline, I found myself nostalgic for the friendships and loves of my early adolescence. There’s a fluidity to one's identity during those teenage years that makes a relationship as intense and conflicted as Rebecca and Alex's possible. Love as a fully-formed adult, with all the boundaries and definitions adulthood requires, is a very different animal. I suppose there's a part of me that mourns the passing of that ability to lose yourself in another human being. It's a precious, dangerous, thing.

MS: I know you're an intrepid editor. How would you describe the novel's evolution from first draft until now? What do you do when you get stuck?

ABS: I'm glad to hear you think of me that way, because editing certainly didn't come naturally. I didn't start writing fiction seriously until I was twenty-five, and as someone who felt the pressure of being a late bloomer, I was fiercely protective of the words I put down on the page. I discovered the power of editing at graduate school, where, under the guidance of a few kind and brilliant teachers, I learned how little those first drafts mean. Those teachers not only took away the sting of tossing out sentences, they also showed me that nothing of any significance happens on the page without time, patience, and perseverance. In writing, as in so much of life, being stubborn is half the battle.

In the case of Autobiography, the word "evolution" is too polite a word to apply to the process this book underwent from start to finish. You'd be better off asking how it is that I managed to drive a train into the ground a dozen--two dozen, three dozen--times and still manage to salvage something resembling a train at the end. That's more or less how it felt. For me, writing a novel meant surrendering any sense of control, and then digging up the courage to assume control. I did this again, and again, and again.

MS: What are some books and writers that influenced Autobiography of Us? Are these the same books and writers that influence you generally?

ABS: I hadn't read Mary McCarthy's The Group when I started Autobiography, but I knew it existed. Just knowing there was a book out there that dealt with the question of how women fit into the framework of American society reassured me there was room in the world for the story I wanted to tell. Kate Walbert's magnificent Our Kind, which I'd read many times, served a similar purpose. Still, I'd be lying if I said I spent those years working on Autobiography looking only to books with similar subject material for inspiration. What I looked for then is what I always look for--a voice I can't shake. Marilynne Robinson is someone I turn to again and again. But there are so many contemporary writers whose work I feel privileged to read. Alongside the old favorites--Charlotte Bronte, Nabokov, Faulkner, Edith Wharton--come new heroes: Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Helen Dewitt, Anthony Doerr, Zadie Smith, Andrew Sean Greer, Junot Diaz... on and on. To those who think fiction is a dying art, I say: you're just not paying attention.


CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED ‘AS IS’ AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.
Brought to you by American Poems