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Our History in New York, by Linsey Abrams

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Linsey Abrams has written a novel that I believe foreshadows the literature of the future, perhaps even the art of the future. Eschewing traditional literary devices like heroes (who must always somehow be superhuman) and linear plot (which is always goal-oriented), it focuses on a new set of deeply human values–people in the community, both as individuals and interactors, and on a daily experience the texture and tone of our lives. I found it fascinating–I literally did not want to put it down. It drew me into it and on as no other recent novel (that I’ve read) has done.
~Marilyn French, author of The Women’s Room and From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women

Having just read this lovely book for the second time, I want to add to what other reviewers have said: this is not just an intricate, intimate portrait of contemporary New York life; it is a highly unusual love story. The deep, steady love of Chloe, the narrator, for Helen, her partner, is evoked, not through graphic sex scenes or expressions of emotion, but through the tender, open-hearted, respectful portrait of Helen’s character. (How rare is that!) Helen, the witness of the common people’s history of New York–with her quirky humour, quick observation and incredible memory–becomes almost mythic in the way Chloe describes her. I can’t remember when I’ve read love made manifest through an appreciation of the loved one’s political passions and engaging conversation…
~Michele Landsberg, author of Women and Children FirstThis is New York, Honey!, and Michele Landsberg’s Guide to Children’s Books

Our History in New York covers a single year in the lives of narrator Chloe, her long-time lover, Helen, and their friends. From AIDS to the glory of Greenwich Village to romance and aging, the novel addresses time, art, mortality, and community at a century’s end. The New York Times said of this nationally reviewed author: “Abrams has a superb talent for the specific . . . She [has] her own style-a mixture of introspection, common sense, daydreaming and recollection-and controls it beautifully.” Sojourner called “each chapter an exquisite short story. . . . Abrams paints . . . neighborhoods with the precision of the old Dutch Masters.”

Linsey Abrams has published the novels Charting by the StarsDouble Vision, and Our History in New York. Her stories have appeared in the Editor’s Choice and Pushcart anthologies, her essays and reviews in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She is Founder and Editorial Director of Global City Press. Visit her online at linseyabrams.com.

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