Vintage International, Paperback, 9780375713149, 211pp.
Publication Date: July 8, 2008
The setting is 1970s New York City, a time and place of creativity, sexual freedom, and unforeseen dangers. At its center is Beatrice, who is twenty-five, mesmerizingly lovely, intelligent, and married to Ned, a volatile painter whose obsession with her has turned to hatred. Beatrice is desired by everyone around her: by Faye, her seductive, bawdy childhood friend; by Cyril, a lonely, charismatic Vietnam veteran; by Chris, a young heroin addict. And then there is Perkins, the oddly threatening man next door.
An intoxicating mix of desire, longing, and menace, "Before" captures a dizzying time in America.
“Spare yet penetrating. . . . Before presents a haunting three-month snapshot of a 20-something teetering recklessly on the edge of ruin.” —The Washington Post“Spanidou possesses a poet's gift for language and an ability to capture a sense of time and place with strobe-lit images.”—The New York Times"Powerful. . . . Before is a short book, yet it ends up seeming much larger, even as it remains bracingly compact, tightly coiled."—San Francisco Chronicle “Shimmering, hypnotic. . . . [Spanidou's] sentences have just the right measure of elegant lassitude, of quiet, humming sexiness, and of a singular devotion to seeing things deeply, no matter what the cost.”—O, The Oprah Magazine