Where She Went by Kate Walbert
Stories

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Synopsis

The first half of Where She Went chronicles the life of Marion Clark, a "company wife" who repeatedly packs the household and accompanies her husband around the globe with a "melancholy view before her of what seemed like endless houses with endless garages and endless kitchen windows." In the stories that follow, her adult daughter Rebecca dutifully attempts to fulfill her mother;s thwarted aspirations, "but isn't sure where to go, whom to pray to, what to say. She hears voices rising in no epiphany only confusion, repeating Marion;s wishes."

From the patchwork of communication that unfolds between mother and daughter, Walbert creates a narrative that is both fractured and lyrical. The stories are linked not only by characters but also by the repetition of certain haunting and idiosyncratic images-Marion's yellow nightgown, "l'heure bleue"-that rise mysterious as talismans.

Rebecca continues her family legacy of wandering, traveling farther and farther afield. But hers is a world viewed with a slightly off kilter eye, one that invokes Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, Mohammed's faithful followers at Topkapi Palace, as well as the landscapes of Italy and Jamaica, Istanbul and Paris. Ironically, if Marion had no free will, Rebecca has an excess. This mother and daughter, each uniquely of her own generation, remain locked, firmly, in longing.

Where She Went is an epic for our times-an Odyssey that takes home on the road.

Kate Walbert was born in New York City and raised in Delaware, Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Japan. She has degrees from Northwestern University and New York University. Her fiction and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including The Paris Review, DoubleTake, Fiction, The Antioch Review, Ms., and The New York Times. Walbert also writes for the theater, and her play, Year of the Woman, has been produced at the Yale School of Drama and at Villanova University. She is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts as well as fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo. She currently lives in New York City and Connecticut, where she teaches writing at Yale University.

"Lyric

 

About Kate Walbert

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Kate Walbert's fiction and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the Paris Review, Doubletake, Fiction, the Antioch Review, Ms., and the New York Times. She currently lives in New York City and Connecticut, where she teaches writing at Yale University.
 
Published August 1, 1998 by Sarabande Books. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Where She Went

Kirkus Reviews

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Though stylistically lovely, the mirage-like tales from Rebecca’s life lack the vitality (as does Rebecca herself, compared with Marion) to sustain the connection between the two sections.

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Publishers Weekly

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Aimless and melancholy compared to her mother, Rebecca glides from one lonely, lazy affair to another before drifting into marriage (she asks for a divorce on her honeymoon), wishing all the while that she could live up to her mother's expectations of the ""adventurous"" life.

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