Rules for Saying Goodbye
By Katherine Taylor
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374252717, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 29, 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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“Kath is curious,” observes her younger brother, Ethan, not without anxiety. She is thirteen; already everyone can see she’s got her eye on bigger things than provincial Fresno can offer. Years in the glamorous chill of an East Coast prep school will introduce her to a razor-sharp sense of social distinction, cocaine “so good it’s pink,” and an indispensable best friend—all that she needs to prepare for life in Manhattan. There will be fourteen-dollar cocktails but no money for groceries; unsuitable men of enormous charm, and unsuitable jobs of no charm at all; and a wistful yearning for a transformation from someone of promise into someone of genius.
In this deliciously witty and affecting debut novel, fiction winks at real life: Katherine Taylor is its muddled heroine, and also its author. Written in the tradition of Curtis Sittenfeld and Melissa Bank, with the gorgeous hues of a pile of Gatsby’s shirts, Rules for Saying Goodbye is a bittersweet yet comic coming-of-age tale that has an unerring feel for the delights and malaises of a generation.
Katherine Taylor has won a Pushcart Prize, and her work has appeared in such journals as Ploughshares. Much like her fictional alter ego, she has burned bridges in London, Rome, and Brussels, but now lives in Los Angeles.
"Katherine Taylor's debut novel is sensational. It's wry, funny, heartfelt, and written with grace. I thought boys had the patent on cruelty, but wow, girls can be rough on each other! And yet it's a testament to Taylor's talent that this novel never loses sight of the complexity, the humanity, at the heart of these characters. The story isn't always pretty, but it's so damn good." -- Victor LaValle, author of The Ecstatic and Slapboxing with Jesus "Reading Katherine Taylor is like meeting at a party full of strangers the person you instantly recognize will be a friend for life. Confiding, gossipy, and heartfelt, Rules for Saying Goodbye charts the inexplicable failings and the surprising durabilities of love. It is a sparkling and witty debut." -- Elisabeth Robinson, author of the New York Times bestseller The True and Amazing Adventures of the Hunt Sisters
"This story tumbles through years of a life, careening through cities, through decadent days and nights, through ranks of soulful and magnetic characters. Taylor can wink like Dorothy Parker, and move through worlds like Christopher Isherwood. After you read the last page, your shirt-cuffs will be stained with wine and perfumed with cigarette smoke, and you will be giddy and exhausted from this long, tender, bittersweet, intimate, lovely party." -- Jardine Libaire, author of Here Kitty Kitty "For a fleeting and innocent period in a certain kind of girl's life, cocktails and cigarettes are just an excuse to talk to each other. Rules for Saying Goodbye elegantly describes how this equation reverses--the talking becomes the excuse for the cocktails and cigarettes. In her smart and funny novel, Katherine Taylor renders with unusual precision both the wistfulness and the wit in female friendships." — Dana Spiotta, National Book Award-nominated author of Eat the Document “Achieves a directness and intimacy few novels can match. A beautifully observed and poignant book.” —T.C. Boyle