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Extended Audio Sample Veronica, by Mary Gaitskill Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,811 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Gaitskill Narrator: Kathe Mazur Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2006 ISBN: 9780739334058
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As a teenager on the streets of San Francisco, Alison is discovered by a photographer and swept into the world of fashion-modeling in Paris and Rome. When her career crashes and a love affair ends disastrously, she moves to New York City to build a new life. There she meets Veronica—an older wisecracking eccentric with her own ideas about style, a proofreader who comes to work with a personal “office kit” and a plaque that reads “Still Anal After All These Years.” Improbably, the two women become friends. Their friendship will survive not only Alison’s reentry into the seductive nocturnal realm of fashion, but also Veronica’s terrible descent into the then-uncharted realm of AIDS. The memory of their friendship will continue to haunt Alison years later, when she, too, is aging and ill and is questioning the meaning of what she experienced and who she became during that time. 

Masterfully layering time and space, thought and sensation, Mary Gaitskill dazzles the reader with psychological insight and a mystical sense of the soul’s hurtling passage through the world. A novel unlike any other,Veronica is a tour de force about the fragility and mystery of human relationships, the failure of love, and love’s abiding power. It shines on every page with depth of feeling and formal beauty.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Twisted, beautiful, grotesque, graceful, and exceedingly well-executed. People write their whole lives in the hope of coming up with just one sentences that rises to the level of this book.”

    Sunday Oregonian

  • “Gatiskill is enormously gifted…[Veronica] is a masterly examination of the relationship between surface and self, culture and fashion, time and memory.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Gaitskill writes so radiantly about violent self-loathing that the very incongruousness of her language has shocking power. Janet Maslin, The New York Times
  • Gaitskill deserves some sort of monument [for this] beautiful, devastating new novel...There are paragraphs like poems in Veronica that lure you back, over and over. Elle
  • Sensuous and precise...Veronica captures the nexus between the erotic glamour [of the 1980's] and its epic heartlessness. Entertainment Weekly
  • Gaitskill has written a novel that will leave you shaking and joyful simultaneously, dizzy with the proximity of private terror and bottomless hope. O Magazine
  • “[Veronica] creates an atmosphere, provokes a response, and suffuses us with an emotion that we can easily, all too easily, summon up. It’s art that you can continue to see even with your eyes closed.”

    Slate

  • “Gaitskill’s style is gorgeously caustic…Her ability to capture abstract feelings and sensations with a precise and unexpected metaphor is a squirmy delight to encounter in such abundance.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Gaitskill writes from the gut…[Her] characters bleed, sweat, cry, and they experience sadness, anger, and love as much as a physical sensation as an emotion.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Gaitskill has written a novel that will leave you shaking and joyful simultaneously, dizzy with the proximity of private terror and bottomless hope.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Sensuous and precise…Veronica captures the nexus between the erotic glamour [of the 1980s] and its epic heartlessness.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Beautiful, devastating…Gaitskill devotes almost religious attention to language and to our failure to make our lives as grand as the art we love. There are paragraphs like poems in Veronica that lure you back, over and over.”

    Elle

  • “Gaitskill taps into a deeper vein of emotional force, and with vivid language and an absorbing architecture, she delivers her most affecting, sophisticated work to date.”

    Boston Globe

  • Gaitskill writes from the gut . . . [Her] characters bleed, sweat, cry, and they experience sadness, anger and love as much as a physical sensation as an emotion. San Francisco Chronicle
  • "Gaitskill's style is gorgeously caustic . . . Her ability to capture abstract feelings and sensations with a prescise and unexpected metaphor is a squirmy delight to encounter in such abundance. Heidi Julavits, Pubishers Weekly
  • Veronica is a masterly examination of the relationship between surface and self, culture and fashion, time and memory . . . Gaitskill's brand of brainy lyricism, of acid shot through with grace, is unlike anyone else's . . . Her palpable talent puts her among the most eloquent and perceptive contemporary fiction writers. Meghan O'Rourke, New York Times Book Review
  • “[Veronica] creates an atmosphere, provokes a response, and suffuses us with an emotion that we can easily, all too easily, summon up. It's art that you can continue to see even with your eyes closed. Francine Prose, Slate
  • A 2005 ALA Notable Book Finalist for Fiction
  • A 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Fiction
  • A 2005 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction
  • A 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for Fiction
  • A 2005 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucy | 2/7/2014

    " it reminded me a lot of like being killed (book #30), but it was a lot easier to read and to like the characters. it's a portrait of a woman reflecting on her destructive lifestyle as a model when she was younger and her friendship with an older, unglamorous woman with hiv. what i liked was the way the book captured allison and her friend and sisters' different coping mechanisms for life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brodarte | 2/6/2014

    " This was much less perverse than I was expecting. Also, once I got past pg. 200 I just wanted it to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 2/4/2014

    " The writing is spectacular. Gaitskill just sucks you into this tale of people that are beautiful on the surface and horribly ugly underneath. I give it four stars, instead of the full 5, because there was just a little something missing in the narrator. The language is detailed and insightful, and there are moments in which I really understand what the character is feeling, but at the end of it, I still felt like the character was a bit ... incomplete. Still, a worthwhile read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marti | 1/18/2014

    " Like little bits of poetry on each page, even though it's a novel. Sometimes things get cloudy, but you wade through those lines and come out OK. (I had a feeling that if a student took this to get workshopped, someone might write CLARIFY! in red in the margins.) Bleak, depressing, and yet, so gorgeously written that I couldn't help myself. She's brilliant when it comes to metaphors and has a knack for illustrating feelings and other intangibles with sharp, stunning visuals. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Claudine | 1/17/2014

    " Really unique voice and writing style; the sensory descriptions are particularly unusual and on point. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tarrastarr | 1/15/2014

    " i read this book really quickly, it was fantastically written but so depressing i couldnt imagine reading it for longer than a week. it wasnt nearly as graffic as other people said it was, not quite as sexually disturbing as id feared.. but the depression, moroseness and morbid inertia are stifeling. normally id find this kind of aimless plot line gimicky but because of the delicate and deliberate use of language it was more artistic and forgivable. i hated all of the characters but i liked this book. read it if your not depressed or dont mind becoming depressed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cara | 1/12/2014

    " Both violent and reassuring and hideous and beautiful at the same time, "Veronica" was an interesting, poetic brutal story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trudy | 12/29/2013

    " This book is depressing just because of the type of person it is about. Aren't there enough stories of the selfish already? But I really enjoyed it because of the prose, which is beyond my ability to describe. I wanted to eat it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 11/29/2013

    " A great snapshot of the superficial world of Paris/NYC fashion models, the sad (gay) life of the mid-late 80's, AIDS and getting real with yourself once the party's over. Gaitskill is terrific with prose but can be gross and a bit of a "sensationalist" at times. Otherwise, a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas | 11/28/2013

    " An absolutely haunting work of art. Should not be missed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nina | 8/21/2013

    " Best book from my syllabus/required readings this semester!:) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josie | 7/14/2013

    " Dreamy/brutal "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chuck Williamson | 7/13/2013

    " Yes, I'll admit: I gave up on this one about a hundred pages in. I dunno. I suppose Gaitskill's hyper-lyrical prose-poem mediations on trauma, embodiment, and disease work better in the short story format. I'll give this one another shot some day. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christie Q. | 7/12/2013

    " This didn't really grab me. I kept reading thinking I would get more into it, but it didn't really happen. With so many good books out there, I would skip it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maile | 2/26/2013

    " my book club read this and the verdict wasn't good. but i'm always blown away by mary gaitskill. a lot of her writing is dense, but she's skillful enough to pull you through. the life story of a girl who becomes a successful model, and what happens afterwards too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily Mitchell-marell | 2/5/2013

    " not bad but now i can't hardly remember it so it must not have made much of an impression! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 12/8/2012

    " Beautiful and dark and perfect. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie F | 7/6/2012

    " One of my all-time favorites "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mo | 6/19/2012

    " Twisted---a look into the nasty corners of the psyche, as most of Gaitskill's writing tends to be. I found myself flinching as I read, which to me is almost always a sign of fantastic honesty in a writer. Unless I am reading De Sade, which is a different story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rtm Taylor-Manning | 6/6/2012

    " It's got the swagger of the early stuff, with the compassion for her character and those around her that unsurprisingly comes with the years. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristen | 4/1/2012

    " Beautiful language but a little erratic; not my style "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeanne | 1/29/2012

    " Couldn't finish it. Barely even started it but had enough to know I shouldn't waste my time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caitlin | 12/24/2011

    " Haunting, sometimes disturbing read...Gaitskill is a frank, beautiful writer. I found myself caring less about Alison's life/past and was more interested in the nature of her relationship with Veronica "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allisonm | 8/3/2011

    " Pretty disappointing. I mean, it's an ok book, but I liked the premise of "Two Girls..." a lot better. It's fine, just not amazing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie | 5/16/2011

    " Audiobook-
    Rambled a lot ! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexis | 4/4/2011

    " Meet Mary Gaitskill when she was Chuck Palahniuk. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 2/12/2011

    " A great snapshot of the superficial world of Paris/NYC fashion models, the sad (gay) life of the mid-late 80's, AIDS and getting real with yourself once the party's over. Gaitskill is terrific with prose but can be gross and a bit of a "sensationalist" at times. Otherwise, a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denali | 2/1/2011

    " It's rare to pick up a book that's so unlike any other book you've read in terms of its concept and story, which I appreciated. I had wanted to read this since it came out but was afraid it was going to be exceptionally dark and/or gruesome. I'm glad I picked it up. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Allie | 1/26/2011

    " I don't understand the fuss about this book. Meandering and pretentious, assuming depth and meaning but ultimately not delivering. I kept thinking it would get better but... Nope! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laila | 1/25/2011

    " Raw yet lyrical. Sad. Compelling. Really liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 1/24/2011

    " not bad but now i can't hardly remember it so it must not have made much of an impression! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ursula | 1/24/2011

    " Often abstract, sometimes brilliant and poetic, and too often emotionally hazy. I wanted to be closer to the characters and the events; sometimes Gaitskill gave me that closeness and it was rewarding. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Melanie | 1/10/2011

    " I could not get into this book at all. I kept reading thinking I was missing something. I never found it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Winnie | 1/10/2011

    " Didn't finish reading. Got it from the library. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 1/4/2011

    " It was a bit depressing but I liked a lot of the ways that the author described people and situations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meaghan | 1/2/2011

    " finally finished this years later. i love gaitskill and LOVE this book. "

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