Saturday, September 30, 2006

Crazy Water and Cookies

At the top of my holiday wish list this season is Diana Henry's Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons cookbook. The Mediterranean recipes are grouped by theme, so that every chapter has recipes that share common ingredients and have whimsical names like Fruits of Longing, Of Sea and Salt, and Fragrance of the Earth. Some of the mouth-watering recipes include: Duck Breast with Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce Lavender, Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marinated Feta and Black Olives, Roast Lamb stuffed with Figs, and Spiced Quinces with Crema Catalana.
Another cookbook I have enjoyed drooling over is Plenty by Sarah McLachlan's personal chef Jaime Laurita. When you need a little boost to help you write, these scrumptious cookies do the trick.

Writer's Block Oatmeal Cookies
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, slightly softened
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup raisins*
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine brown sugar and butter in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Add eggs, water and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes). Reduce speed to low. Add all remaining ingredients except oats and raisins; beat until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes). Stir in oats and raisins by hand.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.* Substitute chocolate chips.
Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Coming Soon To A Theatre Near You

I am eagerly awaiting the November 10 release of MQ Erin Cressida Wilson's new film Fur. Also in November, Erin's piece Milk Dress: A Nursing Song from The May Queen will appear in Nerve's new online magazine for the urban parent. The first issue will feature Erin's story among other personal essays, a few columns, and a blog. Regular columns will include bad parenting, childbirth memoirs, and tales of the worst advice offered by parents and friends. Look for it then!

Speaking of Fur's unusual leading man Mr. Downey who co-starred in another fantastic film Wonder Boys six years ago... I just finished Michael Chabon's fantastic romp and soul search through academia and adulthood responsbility for a mostly stoned, washed-up codger daylighting as a professor and one-time author. Chabon is a master of metaphor and as Kim so aptly put it, "I know, something about his writing is just so... sexy. " I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tales of Motherhood

As a mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, I have taken great comfort (both pre and post Lily's birth) in certain motherhood books. When my mama friends recently recommended their current favorite Mother Shock to me, I fondly recalled all the books that helped me along my road to becoming a mom. I haven't gotten to this one yet, but here is my list of books on motherhood that one shouldn't miss.

Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood- From Salon editors, Camille Peri and Kate Moses (I also adored Kate's book Wintering about an imagined period in Sylvia Plath's life), these are thoughtful stories from women in the thick of their lives as mothers.

Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves- In their follow-up collection of personal essays, the contributors tackle weightier issues. I was quite taken and deeply moved by Mariane Pearl and Kate Moses's stories.

Spiritual Midwifery- Written by Ina May Gaskin of The Farm in Summertown, TN, this is an instructional manual any pregnant woman would do well to add to her library. I especially loved the photos and personal stories by the families who Ina May helped to deliver their babies on the commune.

Increase- This is a lyrical journal by poet Lia Purpura during her pregnancy. A luminating and deeply reverent book.

Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year- Annie Lamott always writes at her best and most amusingly when she writes of her own personal journey as she does in Bird by Bird. With her deadpan, self-deprecating voice, you feel as if you're reading the experience of an old friend whom you wish you still knew. This book is a hilarious and heartfelt exploration of all the feelings and adjustments one must go through as a first-time mother.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Claiming The Golden Fleece

The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, a production of Cultural Odyssey, develops original productions that demonstrate their vision of arts as social activism. In 1989, on the basis of material developed while conducting classes at the San Francisco County Jail, Rhodessa Jones created Big Butt Girls, Hard Headed Women, a performance piece based on the lives of the incarcerated women she encountered. During the work's creation, Jones and jail officials discovered issues that were specific to female inmates such as guilt, depression, and self-loathing, which arose in response to feelings of failure in the face of community. Based on this observation, Jones founded the Medea Project to explore whether an arts-based approach could help reduce the numbers of women returning to jail. Five years ago, I was amazed by the inmate performers' energy and talent in their production. Their stories were heartbreakingly raw and moving.

The Medea Project's latest creation My Life in the Concrete Jungle is directed by Rhodessa Jones in collaboration with The Idris Ackamoor Ensemble featuring special guests Ise Lyfe, Cheryl Scales, and female inmates from San Francisco County Jail #8. Performances begin on October 26 at The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Click here for more information.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dishing The Dirt

My friend Emily and I are heading to Berkeley tonight to see MQ Ayun Halliday read from her deliciously fun memoir Dirty Sugar Cookies. Ayun will also appear at Borders in Union Square tomorrow night at 7. I met Ayun at our May Queen reading at BookCourt in Brooklyn back in April. I look forward to diving into her tasty cooking adventures. Her food blog is a hilarious tour de gorge as well. Step aside Betty Crocker!

Monday, September 25, 7:30pm Reading & Signing Black Oak Books 1491 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA510-486-0698

Tuesday, September 26, 7:00pm Reading & Signing Borders Union Square 400 Post Street San Francisco, CA 415-399-1633

Friday, September 22, 2006

Upcoming Reading at Madrone Lounge

Big news! TMQ contributors Kim Askew, Michelle Richmond, and Samina Ali will join forces (wondertwins activate: Form of Gigantic PARTY of fun) with the good people of the Before The Mortgage anthology including their newly wed and esteemed co-editor Christina Amini and contributors Catherine Price, Shoshana Berger, Ariana Lamorte, and David Kolek. The fun begins at 7pm on Monday, November 6 at Madrone Lounge in San Francisco. We'll have free giveaways and delicious goodies for everyone. Sharpie it in your calendars!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

California Dreamin'

I discovered the wondrous art galleries in the Oakland Museum of California quite by accident. They are filled with treasures from all manner of California artists. Two artists who immediately captured my imagination were Arthur and Lucia Mathews. The two ran a furniture shop in San Francisco where they produced works of exquisite craftsmanship rarely equaled by today's shoddy manufacturing standards. They also created other exceptionally fine works of art- murals, illustrations, and paintings. Their many paintings and hand-crafted furniture and frames exemplify the Tonalist and Art Nouveau styles. It would be incredible to get to live with one if these creations in one's own home. But for now, I'm content to enjoy their work in museums. I'm especially excited about the opening of a new exhibit California as Muse: The Art of Arthur and Lucia Mathews. To my mind, no other artists have perfectly rendered the beauty of California like the Mathews- with their images of live oak and cypress trees to fields of poppies. Their work can also be seen in Stanford University, University California at Berkeley, and the Curran Theatre, Children's Hospital and Masonic Temple in San Francisco.

"California as Muse: The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews" -- Curator Harvey Jones describes the couple as "among the most important rediscoveries from a long list of neglected California artists." Their muted landscapes, graceful figures and glowing painted furniture influenced generations of artists and craft workers.
• Oct. 28-March 25, Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak streets, $5-$8, 510-238-2200,

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Samina Ali's 3 Things

TMQ contributor Samina Ali experienced a lifetime of hardship and triumphs all before her 30th birthday. She published her novel Madras on Rainy Days, suffered two brain hemorrhages during her son Isham’s birth and thanks to her sheer determination made a complete recovery. Now looking ahead to 40, she has a few clear goals that she hopes to accomplish within the next year!

1. Take Isham to my home in India
2. Publish another novel
3. Continue my work with bringing more understanding to Islam

Although it has been addictive, I’m going to end this blog in October. So if you’d like to compete for your chance to win one of Lenore Espanola’s beautiful and environmentally-friendly handbags designed exclusively for The May Queen, please post your three things in the next few weeks!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Different Worlds Many Voices

Our reading at Book Passage last Thursday night was a great success. After Flor Morales read her piece from TMQ, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Marin Literacy Program hosted the event as a way to honor students who read from their anthology of writings Different Worlds Many Voices. We also had the rare treat of seeing a video of inmates at San Quentin reading their stories and poetry.

Flor reading from TMQ above. Many thanks to our friends in the packed audience including my sister-in-law Ginette King, Jennifer Carden, and Kala Venugopal.
Flor signing a copy of Different Worlds Many Voices above. Susan Charlton the woman who matched Flor and I four years ago was promoted to Program Director. She gave a very heartfelt speech about the importance of the work MLP does in our county. I was honored to meet Elaine Petrocelli who kindly presented me with embossed, personalized stationery as a gift. Quite a sweet surprise. After the event, we met many interesting tutors and students alike. Photos courtesy of Paul Kagawa Photography

Friday, September 15, 2006

Serve It Forth

Consider The Oyster, Serve It Forth, The Gastronomical Me, How To Cook A Wolf. These were just a few of the whimsical titles of Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher's genius works. Many have said she was the greatest American writer of her time. Although I think that's quite a compliment, it's one whose boots I think she could have more than adequately filled.

On a glorious spring morning four years ago, my hubby and I trekked through the Bouverie Audubon Preserve in search of MFK's last residence. She had a small cottage on the grounds that I tried to spy over the fields of wildflowers as it's not open to the public. We did manage to hike to the lovely waterfall where her ashes were scattered. The canyon ranch in Sonoma is an enchanting spot- especially in the spring.

MFK Fisher forever changed the landscape of culinary writing. There are many great food writers today- such as Nigella Lawson and Ruth Reichl- but they're really no match for her supreme talent. She was a masterful storyteller who somehow turned eating into a divine art form. TMQ contributor Ashley Warlick is at work on a book about MFK Fisher and I'm breathless with anticipation. Mary Frances once said, When I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and it is all one.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Nobody Does It Better

No one has saved me more in the kitchen than that adorable cockney moppet, Mr. Oliver. I grew up sort of constantly being shooed out of the kitchen and with pseudo-gourmet chefs for a mother and sister, I felt very intimidated in the culinary arena. Jamie puts one at ease and makes cooking both simple and fun. He champions feeding kids better as well. Here are two of my favorites to prepare from his "cracking" recipes:

4 handfuls of French beans, stalk ends removed
2 to 3 heaped teaspoons of French mustard, to taste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
7 tablespoons extra virgin oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium shallot, peeled and finely chopped
optional: 1 tablespoon capers
1/2 clove of garlic, finely grated
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the beans, put a lid on the pan and cook for at least 4 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the mustard and vinegar into a bowl and, while stirring, add the olive oil to make a good French dressing. Season carefully with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, then add the finely chopped shallot, the capers if using, and the garlic.
Drain the the beans. While they are steaming hot, this is the perfect moment to dress them as they will take on more of the dressing than when cold. Serve as a salad in its own or as an accompaniment to a main meal.
I also enjoy preparing his FANTASTIC FISH PIE. Truly British and pukkah!

A reminder to those in the SF Bay Area: Flor Morales and I will appear at Book Passage tonight as part of a fundraiser for the Marin Literacy Program. Here are the details:
Andrea Richesin and Flor Morales will read from The May Queen
Event takes place in the gallery
Thurs., Sept. 14, 7:00 pm
Book Passage in Corte Madera

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Savory Memoirs

In Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone, she explains how her life-long obsession and love affair with food began. From her formative years to her days living in a Berkeley commune and the beginning of her writing career, she shares her fondest memories of preparing and consuming her favorites. Her follow-up memoir Comfort Me With Apples is a more adult exploration of her life, but she shares her same open-hearted, self-depecrating charm. In her last book Garlic and Sapphires, she brings us along to the restaurants she reviews-- only she's in disguise. Reichl creates wildly innovative getups, becoming Brenda, a red-haired aging hippie, to test the food at Daniel; Chloe, a blonde divorcée, to evaluate Lespinasse; and even her deceased mother, Miriam, to dine at 21. Such elaborate disguises—which include wigs, makeup, thrift store finds and even credit cards in other names—help Reichl maintain anonymity in her work, but they also do more than that. "Every restaurant is a theater," she explains. Each one "offer[s] the opportunity to become someone else, at least for a little while. Restaurants free us from mundane reality." Reichl's ability to experience meals in such a dramatic way brings an infectious passion to her memoir.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

“Life itself is the proper binge.”

Or so said Julia Child. Julie Powell faced her 30th birthday in a bit of a muddle- she had a dead-end job and little prospects for the future. In despair, she gave herself a challenge- 524 recipes in 365 days in 1 tiny apartment in Long Island City. She eventually would turn her popular blog, detailing the highs and lows of cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, into the book Julie & Julia. Through her devoted minions of “bleaders” who were all atwitter about her work, an online folk heroine was born. Although I did not read her blog, I appreciated her down-home Texan charm and the confessional mayhem that ensues throughout her book. Julie seems so vulnerable and brave schlepping to and from work and trying to make it on her own terms. If you love reading cooking memoirs a la MFK Fisher, this book comes highly recommended. You can also read a review by MQ Ashley Warlick for Talk Greenville.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hey, Good Lookin’. What Ya Got Cookin’?

It’s theme week here again at The May Queen's 3 Things. This time around we're focused on what’s cooking in your kitchen or more importantly-- cookbooks. Cookbooks are a passion of mine- not cooking so much as cookery writing. I wistfully gaze over the mouth-watering photos and dream about throwing lavish parties or more often than not enjoying a big bowl of soup next to a little fire. I’m crazy about English chefs (yes, English!) like Nigella, Jamie, and best of the bunch, Tamasin Day-Lewis. I adore her. She’s a brilliant writer and I’m mad about her books. Here’s a list of my favorites in order:
1. West of Ireland Summers: A Cookbook—Ah the writing in this book is so lovely and a true tribute to Tamasin’s love of her father who introduced her to Ireland. She rekindles the sights, sounds, smells and, above all, the tastes of her family holidays since childhood. I really can’t wait to bake her chocolate hazelnut cake.

2. Tamasin’s Weekend Food- From the Introduction, If you need to rediscover the pleasures of weekend cooking I hope this book will do it for you…It should suit your every mood from the taxed and harassed what-shall-I-cook tomorrow to instant I-want-it-now gratification, to what can I cook tonight, eat tomorrow, rehash the next day. The weekend starts here.

3. Tarts With Tops On or How to Make the Perfect Pie- It has a cheeky title, but this book is a celebration of the pie- savory, traditional, apple, American, and sweet.

4. Good Tempered Food: Recipes to Love, Leave, and Linger Over- A testament to the wisdom of the Slow Food Movement, “this book is filled with the food we love to eat and cook, and is all about reuniting yourself with a sense of pleasure in the kitchen, rediscovering that 'slow' and 'time taken' doesn't mean difficult.”

5. Tamasin's Kitchen Classics- Tamasin's latest book is her take on classic dishes from around the world. Among the new recipes are Saltimbocca, Steak au poivre with Potatoes Lyonnaise, Fig Sorbet, and Aunti Fei's Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Yum!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Heather Chaplin’s 3 Things

MQ Heather Chaplin and her hubby Aaron Ruby coauthored a highly praised book on the videogame industry entitled Smart Bomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution. Read an excerpt from NPR. Smart Bomb will be available in paperback in November. Heather has worked as a journalist for many years and likes to pose tough yet thoughtful questions not only to her subjects, but to herself.

Three things I want to do before I'm 40:
This seems an impossibly hard question! What initially comes to mind is, Figure my life out? But that's not really an answer, is it. So, I guess I would say:

1. I want to find a way to become politically active in a genuinely effective way. I am deeply, deeply concerned about the current state of affairs on a geopolitical and socioeconomic level, and I am not sure how to actually create change - change that is in a direction against increasing discrepancy of wealth between the world's richest and poorest people, and all that that implies in their lives, and against the destruction of the planet. At this point, I have almost no idea how to do this. So that's weighing heavily on me and is on my agenda.

2. I want to move into this next phase of my life - and it does feel like I'm moving into a new personal era right about now - making decisions based more on what I want and less on what I think others need from me.

3. I hope that I will have written something better than I've yet to write.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Flor Morales’s 3 Things

It has been my privilege and pleasure to tutor MQ Flor Morales for the past few years. She is a great friend to me and has taught me far more than I could ever teach her. When I asked Flor what her 3 things would be, of course it was all about family. She just discovered that she is pregnant with her third child. Flor has had a little boy every seven years for the past 14-- so I'm crossing my fingers that she has the little girl she has longed for this time around.

Flor's 3 things before 40:
1. Have another another baby
2. Go to El Salvador to visit my mother, sister, and extended family
3. See my son Erick graduate from high school

Flor will read from her inspiring story Crossing the Border at Book Passage on September 14 at 7p.m. as part of a fundraiser for the Marin Literacy Program. For every copy of The May Queen sold during the event, Book Passage will contribute 20% of the cover price to Marin Literacy Program, an amount that is matched by a donation from Bank of Marin. I hope you will join us for this special evening!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lily Burana's 3 Things

I interviewed MQ Lily Burana last week for The Happy Booker. You can read our lively interview here. Lily has had huge success with her new novel, Try. I’m really enjoying reading it! She has a very entertaining blog well-worth checking out as well.

Lily’s 3 things before 40:
1. Go to the Playboy Mansion
2. Publish another book
3. Have a church wedding

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Deb Norton's 3 Things

Three weeks ago, TMQ contributor Deb Norton (playwright and star of The Whole Banana) celebrated her big 4-0 by getting engaged. Congratulations Deb! Her fall classes, Freeing the Writer and 10-Minute Play Workshop begin this month. She also offers private coaching. Sign up soon!

Three things I did before turning 40:
1) Figured out how to forgive myself for even the stupidest mistakes
1a) Figured out how to forgive my parents for even the stupidest mistakes
1b) Called my father after a very long and mutually disgruntled silence
2) Figured out what I was supposed to be doing with my time here on earth
2a) Performed in a professional production of a play I had written
2b) Learned to tap dance
2c) Became a teacher
3) Figured out some things about love and being happy
3a) Got engaged (on my 40th birthday)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Tanya Shaffer’s 3 Things

This week, The May Queen contributors will weigh in with their 3 things before 40. First up is Tanya Shaffer- playwright, actor, writer, Renaissance woman. Last fall, I was blown away by her new play- Baby Taj- which has elements of the same story she tells in her essay Of Sweethearts and Sperm Banks in The May Queen.
Tanya will turn 40 in two months, but she agreed to share three things she’s grateful she made time for this last decade.
Three things I’m glad I did before I turned forty:
1. Went to Africa
2. Published a book
3. Had a child
Tanya will appear at Book Passage in Corte Madera tomorrow night at 7:00 to read from her memoir, Somebody’s Heart is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa, chat a bit about the process of taking things from the page to the stage, and answer questions. She might even do a teeny (very teeny) excerpt from her brilliant play Let My Enemy Live Long! So I hope you’ll join me there; it’ll be fun! This event is sponsored by the group Left Coast Writers. It’s best to contact them in advance to reserve a space – the address is

Sunday, September 03, 2006

An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus said, “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” Perhaps May Queen contributor Erin Cressida Wilson was inspired by this quote when she penned her screenplay for the upcoming feature film, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. The film will open at the Telluride Film Festival this weekend and Nicole Kidman will appear at the international premiere at the Rome Independent Film Festival in October. Fur is featured in the Fall Movie Preview in Entertainment Weekly. You can see a photo gallery with stills and photos from the set at Internet Movie Database. To watch the trailer, click here. Fur opens everywhere in November.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Museum Tourist

Last Sunday, The Cultured Traveler of the NYT included his favorite selections for Parisian museums off the beaten path. From his list, my top pick would be Musée Gustave Moreau (pictured above), but here’s my list of favorite spots with further recommendations for you. Sacre bleu, I want to return!

In Paris:
Palais Garnier is the most stunning palace and opera house in the world. Period. It is especially fun to roam around its balustraded floors and pretend the phantom of the opera is following you. Costumes from the opera are on permanent display and the grand theatre features a glorious ceiling by Chagall (shown above).
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris houses examples of most of the trends in 20th-century French and European art, from Fauvism to contemporary art with all of its various disciplines (painting, sculpture, environmental art, photography, video) and more, including Cubism, the School of Paris, Arte Povera, and Conceptual Art.

Musée Rodin is set in the Hotel Biron and its surrounding gardens complete with Le Penseur and sculptures by Rodin’s lover and a fine sculptor, Camille Claudel. This is a charming yet manageable museum for a lovely afternoon when the weather is agreeable so one can enjoy the gardens.

Easy day trips outside of Paris to Versailles and Monet’s Garden in Giverny should not be missed! (Below: Monet at work in his studio.)

On the Cote d’Azur, the big three for me are these museums below.
In Nice, two fine museums with shuttle service between the two:
The Matisse Museum is situated on the hill of Cimiez, not far from the Franciscan monastery with its Italianate gardens, the Hotel Regina where he lived, and the Gallo-Roman ruins. Matisse lived here from 1918 until 1954.

The Chagall Museum has the largest collection of his impressive body of work. On display are seventeen biblical murals and a large selection of the artist's mosaics, sculptures, tapestries, and gouache works in a lovely setting.

Jean Cocteau Museum (above) is located in the seaside resort village of Menton. Cocteau designed the mosaic flooring and the bright tiling on the four turrets. Inside are Aubusson tapestries, pottery and painting, mainly executed by him. He was such a master of many art forms- film, poetry, ceramics, photography, sculpture, and Greek, Hellenic and Etruscan designs. If you haven't seen his hypnotic film La Belle et La Bête, you should rent it at once.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bonjour Tristesse

Paul Verlaine once wrote, “Il pleure dans mon coeur.” Nothing says France to me quite like the heartbreak and melancholy of its artistes. Musicians like Erik Satie epitomize this tradition. His Gymnopédies with its tenderness and fragile chords almost makes me weepy every time I hear it.

I would be terribly remiss if I failed to mention French troubadour and moody poet, Serge Gainsbourg. In a tribute album to mark the 15th anniversary of Gainsbarre's death, Monsieur Gainsbourg: Revisited, the covers include: A Song For Sorry Angel (Franz Ferdinand), I Love You (Me Either) (Cat Power), Requiem For Anna (Portishead), Those Little Things (Carla Bruni), Requiem For A Jerk (Francoise Hardy), and L’Hotel (Michael Stipe).

Jeanne Moreau, a living legend in such classic films as François Truffaut’s The Bride Wore Black and Jules et Jim, always seems to capture this same feeling at the heart of hopelessness and tragedy in her portrayals of doomed women.

Moreau went on to star as the queen of despair, Marguerite Duras, in Cet Amour-Là. A brilliant writer, Duras authored the classic L’Amant or The Lover. They were great friends (as evidenced in their mutual admiration in the above photo) and she directed Moreau in Nathalie Granger in 1972.

Other French ladies of letters- After failing at the Sorbonne, Françoise Sagan penned Bonjour Tristesse to a breathless world at 18. A Parisian for a great deal of her life, Jean Rhys, depicted such feelings of displacement and alienation especially in her masterpiece, Wide Sargasso Sea. Perhaps the most tragic story is The Story of O by Pauline Réage.
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