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Clio Rising

Clio Rising

by Paula Martinac


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In 1983, Livvie Bliss leaves western North Carolina for New York City, armed with a degree in English and a small cushion of cash from a favorite aunt. Her goal is to launch a career in publishing, but also to live openly as a lesbian. A rough start makes Livvie think she should give up and head home, but then a new friend helps her land a job at a literary agency run by the formidable Bea Winston.

Bea hopes Livvie’s Southern charm and boyish good looks will help her bond with one of the agency’s most illustrious clients—the cranky Modernist writer Clio Hartt, an octogenarian recluse who accomplished just one great novel. When Livvie becomes Clio’s girl Friday and companion, the plan looks like it’s working: The two connect around their shared western North Carolina heritage, and their rapport gives Clio support and inspiration to think about publishing again.

But something isn’t quite right with Clio’s writing. And as Livvie learns more about Clio’s romantic relationship with playwright Flora Haynes, uncomfortable parallels emerge between Livvie’s own circle of friends and the drama-filled world of expatriate artists in Paris in the 1920s. In Clio’s final days, the writer shares a secret that could upend Livvie’s life—and the literary establishment.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612941479
Publisher: Bywater Books MI
Publication date: 04/23/2019
Pages: 310
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

PAULA MARTINAC is the author of four published novels and a collection of short stories. Her debut novel Out of Time won the 1990 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, and The Ada Decades was short listed for the Ferro-Grumley Award. She has published three nonfiction books on lesbian and gay culture and politics as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories. Also a playwright, her works have had productions with Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company, Manhattan Theatre Source, the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, No Name Players, and others. She teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Clio Rising is another brilliant novel by Paula Martinac, one of our most gifted writers. This intergenerational page turner is a vivid portrait of an unusual relationship between two southern women in the literary world of 1980's gay New York. This wonderful book should be on everyone's bedside table." —Madeline Olnek, writer/director, Wild Nights with Emily

"A wonderful tale of lesbian and literary New York in the 1980s, often funny, sometimes raunchy, sometimes romantic, and always real. Paula Martinac has a gift for bringing different pasts to life. Her portrait of the difficult friendship between two women of contrasting generations is both generous and wise. An exploration of biographical mystery and responsibility, this fine novel is like an American answer to A. S. Byatt's Possession." —Christopher Bram, author of Gods and Monsters

"Martinac’s fictional magic reminds me why I love lesbian literature." —Lee Lynch, trailblazing author of The Swashbuckler

“I thoroughly enjoyed Clio Rising, and being reminded of both the final decades of Djuna Barnes (re-imagined here as Clio Hartt) and of lesbian life in the 1980s, with its lesbian bars, now vanished, as focal points, and the ways in which we became entangled with one another, as lovers, friends, allies, and enemies. The textures of daily life are everywhere in this novel, from the details of job issues and housing problems, to the fact that the character with AIDS is no sweet-tempered martyr and Livvie’s care for him is sporadic and imperfect. Livvie’s relationship with Clio, the central one of the book, is also fraught, full of tentative approaches, missed opportunities, and moments of satisfying connection. I only wish we really did have Clio’s collection of short stories.” —Amy Hoffman, author of the novel The Off Season and the Lambda Literary Award-nominated memoir An Army of Ex-Lovers

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