Speaking with Strangers by Mary Cantwell
A Memoir

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Synopsis

Mary Cantwell's supple, seductive voice speaks out in her most revealing memoir, the conclusion of a trilogy about an American woman with one foot in her past and the other, warily, in her present. AMERICAN GIRL evoked the delights of her early youth in a small New England town. MANHATTAN WHEN I WAS YOUNG told of her marriage and children, her blossoming career in New York, and the decline of that marriage. In SPEAKING WITH STRANGERS she finds herself alone: a single mother in the big city, bereft of her husband if bolstered by friends, professionally successful if personally sad.. She took to traveling, for "escape," to far regions of the world on magazine assignments. While wandering through Izmir, Belgrade, Tashkent,, she would promise herself never to leave her children again if God would just get her out of the latest hellhole. Yet the farther she rambled, the more she found herself taking on a shape again--by speaking with strangers. She also found deep, if passing, happiness in an intense relationship with a famous writer she calls "the balding man" and warmth and hilarity in her friendship with the legendarily reclusive--and rambunctious--novelist, Frederick Exley. In SPEAKING WITH STRANGERS Mary Cantwell renders a sensibility as vivid as the city of which she is, quite literally, a part. As this fiercely candid memoir ends, Cantwell realizes that she had long since "embraced my true bridegroom. That was the day I married New York." And with that realization this maker of a family and a career comes fully into her own as a writer.
 

About Mary Cantwell

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A former magazine editor and long-time member of the New York Times Editorial Board, Mary Cantwell lives in Greenwich Village, New York.
 
Published April 28, 1998 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 159 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Speaking with Strangers

Publishers Weekly

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After chronicling her coming-of-age in American Girl, then her marriage and the birth of her two daughters in Manhattan When I Was Young, Cantwell concludes her trilogy of memoirs with this dark and unsparing account of the years following her divorce.

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Entertainment Weekly

The author was formerly a member of The New York Times' editorial board and managing editor of Mademoiselle, but she is best known as a memoirist, chronicler of her own interior life from childhood through middle age.

May 22 1998 | Read Full Review of Speaking with Strangers: A Me...

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May 04 1998 | Read Full Review of Speaking with Strangers: A Me...

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