Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyJay's memories of her mother are vague and fleeting. Growing up with her widower father in Denver, the heroine of Wright's first novel has had to take on the role of homemaker in their dilapidated Victorian duplex. When her father, an ex-playwright with his head in the clouds, loses their fortune on options trading, Jay, 18, realizes that she must look out for herself and so moves to New York to make her mark. There, two very different men begin to shape her life. One, a beautiful, self-destructive jazz musician who becomes her lover, sees Jay as a steadfast innocent. The other, a blind Korean academic who lives by measurements and rules and hires Jay to assist him in transcribing his third novel, gradually becomes a springboard for her intellectual awakening. Through Wright's understated and softly poetic prose, Jay's resolute character, with all its ragged edges, comes easily to life. Equally impressive is Wright's ability to describe simply and believably the emotional intricacies of developing relationships. Narrative shifts between Jay and her father's perspectives can be jarring, but this structural bumpiness doesn't detract from the strength of Wright's prose and insight. (May)
Library JournalThis is a quirky coming-of-age novel that loses its focus about halfway through. Jay and her father have lived alone together since her mother's long-ago death. Although still in high school, Jay is the responsible party, paying the bills and trying to stay one step ahead of creditors. Her father, a former playwright, now dreams of get-rich-quick schemes as a marginal stockbroker. When her college money is blown on one of his schemes, Jay takes off alone for New York. There she lands on her feet with a job assisting a blind gentleman and finds a dangerous older boyfriend. Jay is well portrayed, and her story is mostly involving, but the novel never quite jells. Recommended for larger fiction collections.-Ann Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Alice JoyceJacqueline Winbourne is called Jay by her friends but Jaybird by her father, Jack. Early on in Wright's first novel the narrative takes on a certain predictability, as Frederick Jackson Winbourne's disastrous relationship with money obviously bodes ill for his daughter's college plans--plans which rest entirely on funds set aside years earlier by Jay's mother before she died. Although Wright portrays Jack as a caring if inept parent, this is ultimately Jay's story of breaking away. She arrives in New York City with little more than a high-school diploma, having had little experience with work or with love. It is no surprise when the resourceful young woman finds another man in need of her nurturing. Wright's story achieves a convincing resonance once Jay has a chance to process the experiences that have obstructed her path and blocked her deepest emotions.
- Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
- Product dimensions:
- 5.29(w) x 7.33(h) x 1.38(d)
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