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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:
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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

  • “[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.”


  • “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.”


  • “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

  • “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

  • 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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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