Nora Buchbinder—formerly rich and now broke—would be the last woman in Brooklyn to claim #MeToo, but when a work assignment reunites her with her childhood best friend, Beth, she finds herself in a hall of mirrors. Was their eighth grade teacher Beth's lover or her rapist? Where were the grown-ups? What should justice look like, after so much time has passed? And what can Nora do, now?
Nora’s memories, and Beth’s, and those of their classmates, their former teacher, and members of his family, bring to light some of the ways we absorb and manage unbearable behavior. From denial to reinvention, self-pity to self-righteousness, endless questioning to intransigent certainty, readers will recognize the ripples sent into the lives of others by one broken man.
|Publisher:||Red Hen Press|
|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Rachel Cline, author of the novels What to Keep and My Liar , has written for the New York Times , New York , More , SELF , and Tin House magazines, and is a produced screen and television writer. For five years, she was a screenwriting instructor at the University of Southern California and has taught fiction writing at New York University, Eugene Lang College, and Sarah Lawrence College. She has been a resident at Yaddo, a fellow at Sewanee, and a Girls Write Now mentor. She lives in Brooklyn Heights, a few blocks from where she grew up.
Read an Excerpt
It feels good to be outside. I walk to Cadman Plaza by the post office, a landmark of my childhood, and decide I will cut through the park. Waiting for the light at Tillary Street, I find myself looking across the newly Astroturf playing field and remember how, in ninth grade, Beth and I used to smoke pot (me) and meet boys (her) behind the war monument. It always wound up with me making awkward conversation with the sidekick while she went off in the bushes to fool around with Tyrone or Sadiq. I can see myself and the other guy, sitting on the edge of the monument, chucking rocks at squirrels and pigeons while attempting to make conversation about our somewhat limited shared culture. No eye contact, we talked while facing outward. I did learn, from one of them, to distinguish between various types of ghetto headgear—Kangol, applejack, tam—and even how a dry-cleaning bag was used to puff out the crown of the latter two items so as to balance out the afro underneath. I liked the idea of the tough kids I saw on the subway, primping their hats to get the look just right. I guess I also picked up some other useful knowledge during those sessions—what music was important at the moment, proper slang locutions, sneaker taxonomy . . . and how to give off some mysterious vibe that ensured no man ever made the first move on me—even when I wanted him to.
There’s still grimy snow at the curb and the wind cuts right through me as I walk parallel to the towers of Cadman Plaza through the alley of bare London plane trees in the park. When I was young, this area was going to be a shining city of affordable housing and common spaces—and for years it seemed as though any time I entered the north end of the Heights, I was under a construction bridge or avoiding a gantlet of hard-hatted men of the sort who attacked antiwar protesters. We would be playing Ringolevio or Sardines but then the perfect hiding place would turn out to be the claimed domain of some towering dude in rags, or a trysting place for un-fun-looking sex, or a public urinal. All along Clinton, Clark, and Fulton streets the vacant lots were enclosed in a picket of old tenement doors, their interior paint faded to the colors of Necco Wafers. I have a weird nostalgia for those doors. They remind me of the saying “safe as houses.” Of course, I’ve never lived in a house. The only person I knew who lived in a house was Beth—a huge house in Kensington, with plastic slipcovers on the “good” furniture and sugar-free candy in a dish by the front door.
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