Is it dangerous to search for an old flame you never got over? What if you find
him—and he doesn't remember you? In her captivating new novel, Susan
Shapiro—memoirist, novelist, humorist and writing teacher
extraordinaire—explores the perils of revisiting the passion of yesteryear. Lila
Penn leaves Wisconsin for graduate school in the big city, where she falls for
her professor Daniel Wildman. Decades after their tangled link, she arranges a
tête-à-tête in downtown Manhattan. But the shocking encounter blindsides Lila,
causing her to question her memory as well as her sanity. Shuttling between
Greenwich Village and Tel Aviv, the saga unravels the sexual secret that's
haunted Daniel and Lila for thirty years. Writing a Woman’s life columnist Yona
Zeldis McDonough catches up with Shapiro to get the skinny on this hilarious yet
Q: How long did it take you to complete?
A: From start to publication six years. But I worked on a few projects in between.
Q: Are there autobiographical elements in this novel?
A: Yes part of it is very autobiographical. But the real story wasn't ultimately
very dramatic. So I wound up embellishing and dramatizing it a lot to make more
page-turning as a novel.
Q: Can you talk about the role that humor plays?
A: I think everything I write has my fast dark sense of humor. A book reviewer
who was critiquing my first novel said something like, "her dialogue sounds like
Aaron Sorkin's walk-and-talks." Even though they meant to be insulting, I was
very flattered and used it as a blurb.
Q: The dramas and rivalries of creative writing programs are given a lot
of play; can you say more about this?
A: They say academia is so cut throat because there's so little at stake. And
what happens if you put a bunch of ambitious writers in the same academic
program for two years or more? You're bound to get several chronicles.
Q: What’s the real heart of this story for you?
A: I was forty when a midlife crisis inspired seeking out former boyfriends for
my memoir FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART. That was a (hopefully) humorous take. A
decade later, WHAT'S NEVER SAID explores the darker side of revisiting a romance
from your past. It's also about marriage and the road not taken. I've been in
love with my husband for twenty years so that's a topic that fascinates me.
Q: What’s next on your horizon?
A: Now I'm working on another memoir. Nonfiction is so much easier for me!
Fiction kills me.
Susan Shapiro, a Manhattan journalism professor, has written for the New York
Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Newsweek, Salon.com, Daily Beast, The
Forward, Village Voice, People, More, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan.
with her husband, a TV/film writer, in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her
own "instant gratification takes too long" writing method at the New School, NYU
and in private workshops and seminars.
It’s dangerous to search for an old flame you never got over. What if you
find him—and he doesn’t remember you? In her captivating new novel, Susan
Shapiro explores the perils of revisiting past passion.
Lila Penn leaves
Wisconsin for graduate school in the big city, where she falls for her professor
Daniel Wildman. Decades after their tangled link, she arranges a tête-à-tête in
downtown Manhattan. But the shocking encounter blindsides Lila, causing her to
question her memory—and sanity.
Switching between Greenwich Village and
Tel Aviv, the saga unravels the sexual secret that’s haunted Daniel and Lila for
A compelling novel about one woman’s search for the truth from the author
of YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME.
After suffering a sudden, traumatic loss,
historical novelist Susannah Gilmore decides to uproot her life—and the lives of
her two children—and leave their beloved Brooklyn for the little town of
Eastwood, New Hampshire.
While the trio adjusts to their new
surroundings, Susannah is captivated by an unexpected find in her late parents’
home: an unsigned love note addressed to her mother, in handwriting that is most
definitely not her father’s.
Reeling from the thought that she never
really knew her mother, Susannah finds mysteries everywhere she looks: in her
daughter’s friendship with an older neighbor, in a charismatic local man to whom
she’s powerfully drawn, and in an eighteenth century crime she’s researching for
her next book. Compelled to dig into her mother’s past, Susannah discovers even
more secrets, ones that surpass any fiction she could ever put to paper...
About Yona Zeldis McDonough
Yona Zeldis McDonough is the author of six novels; her
seventh, THE HOUSE ON
PRIMROSE POND, will be out from New American Library in February, 2016. In
addition, she is the editor of the essay collections The Barbie
Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty and All the Available Light: A
Marilyn Monroe Reader. Her short fiction, articles and essays have been
published in anthologies as well as in numerous national magazines and
newspapers. She is also the award-winning author of twenty-six books for
children, including the highly acclaimed chapter books, The Doll Shop
Downstairs and The Cats in the Doll Shop. Yona lives in Brooklyn, New
York with her husband, two children and two noisy Pomeranians.
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