A Likely Story
One Summer with Lillian Hellman
By Rosemary Mahoney
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385479318, 288pp.)
Publication Date: November 9, 1999
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Now in paperback--from the author of the acclaimed Whoredom in Kimmage, a moving, controversial, and supremely intelligent memoir of a bright and vulnerable teenager's hellish summer job.
In 1978, Rosemary Mahoney, an aspiring young writer of seventeen, wrote her personal idol Lillian Hellman inquiring whether the famed woman of American letters might need domestic help for the summer. When Hellman responded affirmatively, Mahoney imagined an idyll on Martha's Vineyard of mentoring and friendship. But in reality Mahoney's summer unfolded into an exquisite and grueling exercise in humiliation at the hands of the acerbic Hellman and her retinue of celebrated acquaintances. By turns heartbreaking and uproariously funny, A Likely Story portrays the coming-of-age of a brilliant and troubled young woman--a universal tale of illusions shattered and an object lesson in the often misdirected search for heroes.
Rosemary Mahoney is the author of The Early Arrival of Dreams, an account of teaching in China that was a New York Times Notable Book in 1990, and Whoredom in Kimmage, a National Book Critics' Circle finalist in 1993. She won the Charles E. Horman Prize for Fiction Writing as an undergraduate at Harvard and is also the recipient of a Whiting Writing Award. She lives in New York City.
"An endlessly fascinating book...."
--Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
"Mahoney's characterizations are masterful. She impeccably re-creates Hellman's friends and the emotions they summoned up in her younger self."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Rosemary Mahoney...brings to her memoir the shaping and insight and sheer good writing we expect from a work of fiction."
--The New York Observer
"This brave and heartwrenching book is the final evidence that, as far as writers go, Mahoney is the real thing."