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Hauntingly observant and insightful, this poignant debut novel delves into the intricate bonds between mothers and daughters and offers an unflinching, darkly funny look at the relationships between love, sex, and death.
Rachel Spark is an irreverent, sexually eager, financially unstable thirty-year-old college instructor who moves back home when her mother is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. As she tries to ease her mother, a perpetually cheerful woman, toward the inevitable, Rachel turns from one man to the next -- sometimes comically, sometimes catastrophically -- as if her own survival depended upon it.
"If I slept only with men who knew my full name, if I signed up for dance classes, if I ate more fruit -- even then there was no guarantee I'd get what I wanted," she thinks. And so she goes off with Johnny, who wears "all silk: black silk pants, a red silk shirt, even a silk band holding his hair in a ponytail." Or with Adam, an old boyfriend who remembers her with a bob she never had and tries to seduce her in his car with dark-tinted windows. Regardless of her unsuitable and unlikely bedmates, Rachel can't distract herself from what she knows about cancer -- that it disappears or returns, seemingly with a will of its own. But Rachel's not the only one struggling with the uncertain turns life takes...
Ella Bloom, an adult student in Rachel's poetry class, aspires to more than her work at a local family planning clinic. But she spends her nights wondering why her husband kissed one of her colleagues and whether it will lead to a full-fledged affair, and she is also preoccupied with one of her repeat patients, Georgia, a teenager who frequents the clinic and has a story of her own. What they all have in common is their desire for love, despite its many obstacles.
A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That is a novel rife with wit and compassion. A provocative, assured new voice in literary fiction, Lisa Glatt knows the yardsticks by which we constantly measure our world and ourselves -- devotion, lust, forgiveness, and courage.