Overview

An injury at birth left Audrey with a wandering eye. Though flawed, the bad eye functions well enough to permit her an idiosyncratic view of the world, one she welcomes in the stifling postwar Brooklyn of the 1950s. During a journey to Manhattan to see a doctor about her sight, she begins to explore the sexual rites of adulthood. But can her romance last? In this beautifully observed novel, Lynne Sharon Schwartz raises themes of innocence and escape while illuminating the rich ...
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Leaving Brooklyn

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Overview

An injury at birth left Audrey with a wandering eye. Though flawed, the bad eye functions well enough to permit her an idiosyncratic view of the world, one she welcomes in the stifling postwar Brooklyn of the 1950s. During a journey to Manhattan to see a doctor about her sight, she begins to explore the sexual rites of adulthood. But can her romance last? In this beautifully observed novel, Lynne Sharon Schwartz raises themes of innocence and escape while illuminating the rich inner life of a singular girl.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Not as complex or inventive as Disturbances in the Field , this slim, nostalgic novel reincarnates, from a contemporary adult narrator's perspective, post-WW II Brooklyn, where conformity, sensible relationships and coherence wage an age-old battle against passion and creativity. Legally blind in one eye, 15-year-old Audrey fancies that her wandering eye, ``restless, bored with the banality of what is presented . . . escapes to the private darkness beneath the lid, with the wild dancing colors.'' Like Audrey, Schwartz possesses a secret vision that allows her to pursue a ``rampant longing to peer beneath the surfaces of things'' and locate the mythology at the core of the quotidian. These trademark talents, revealed through lyric, silver-tongued prose, compensate here for the ubiquitous eye analogies, wobbly plot contrivances (contact-lens novice Audrey admits ``a horror of inserting foreign objects into my body'' and several pages later plunges into a liaison with ``the eye doctor'') and a device--more artificial appendage than daring technique--that self-consciously merges memory and revision, fiction and autobiography. Author tour. (Apr.)
Library Journal
How much of this work is fiction? How much memoir? Schwartz walks the fine line separating fiction and memoir, thereby exploring the role of memory in the creation of art. In the end, she concludes, ``If it wasn't a memory to begin with, it has become one now. . . . Memory is revision. I have just destroyed another piece of my past, to tell a story.'' The story she tells is of her adolescence, her coming of age in the sheltered world of the 1950s, and more aptly, her emergence from the sheltered life of childhood. Its central metaphor, that of the oddity of vision occasioned by a lazy, or ``bad'' eye, represents Schwartz's attempt to reconcile the sexually charged chaotic truths she discovers beneath the placid surface of her safe childhood world. Here, Brooklyn is more a state of mind, a state of unendurable innocence, than the sharply concrete place Schwartz can evoke. Recommended.-- Linda Rome, Mentor, Ohio
Library Journal

Schwartz's 1989 coming-of-age novel snagged both the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award. For protagonist Audrey, her hometown of Brooklyn, NY, represents the suppressed world of her parents and her 1950s childhood. Though she was born with an eye impairment, it is not until she finally travels across the bridge to Manhattan to see a specialist that she truly grows up and is able to shuck off her past. Substitute any other outlying region of any other big city, and the story still works.


—Michael Rogers
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780983850441
  • Publisher: Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/5/2011
  • Series: Rediscovery
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,050,541
  • File size: 512 KB

Meet the Author

LYNNE SHARON SCHWARTZ is the author of 19 books: novels, short story collections, non-fiction, poetry, and translations. Among her novels are The Writing on the Wall, set in New York City after September 11, 2001; In the Family Way: An Urban Comedy; Disturbances in the Field; and Rough Strife. She is also the author of the widely-known memoir, Ruined by Reading, and the poetry collection, In Solitary. Her work has been reprinted in many anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Essays, and her criticism and reviews have appeared in leading magazines and newspapers.
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