Fictionaut is a community of readers as well as writers, and sometimes we talk about writers we love. So, one of my Fictionaut friends said to me one day, You. Must. Read. Meg. Wolitzer.
So I did. And Meg’s novels knocked me out. The Wife is as perfect a novel as can be imagined. If you have yet to read Meg Wolitzer, you may start there. Or, if you prefer, go grab her new novel, The Uncoupling, a hilarious take on the Aristophanes comedy, Lysistrata, where women young & old in suburban Stellar Plains, New Jersey say NO to their menfolk. (Does any writer in America capture the deep melancholy and longing of the suburbs better than Meg Wolitzer? The Uncoupling is an extended meditation on female desire across time; it is also deeply funny.) Then read The Position (I love Holly, a young woman who puts me in mind of my sister). There is also The Ten Year Nap, about women who “step out of the work force” and the way they live now– it contains a closing sentence that brought me to tears.
Line Breaks is honored to feature Meg Wolitzer, a selfless & generous mentor to countless writers, and one of the most talented novelists working in America.
This story won Ms. Magazine’s first ever college fiction contest in 1979. I believe I was a student at Smith when I wrote it, but I soon transferred to Brown, from which I graduated. I haven’t written too many stories in the decades since, but reading the piece now for the first time in so many years, I am struck by its slightly novelistic feel. I get the sense that I might have settled in with these characters for a longer haul if I’d had the time. In a way, it does remind me tonally of my first novel Sleepwalking, which was published the year after graduation: both are a little melancholy and a little funny, and both concern themselves with parents, children, and the subject of loss. As if the story is itself a child, I feel a little protective of it reading it now, hoping it stands up.
Read Meg Wolitzer’s “Diversion” on Fictionaut.