A review of

Notice

by Heather Lewis

Central question: Where does sadness end?
Format: 217 pp., paperback; Size: 7.84” x 5.18”; Price: $11.20; Publisher: Serpent’s Tail Press; Editor: Amy Scholder; Designer: Sue Lamble; Typeface: Ehrhardt; Years between novel’s completion and publication: ten; Year of author’s death: 2002; Author’s favorite TV genre: Cop shows; Pivotal TV show for author: Adam 12; Author’s hand-me-downs from brother: Hardy Boys books; Author’s childhood household chore: Screening racy books for her mother; Book contains an afterword by: Allan Gurganus, her “mentor for life”; Representative sentence: “The only thing he took off was his belt.”

Oh, god, it’s so beautiful and sad, this book. It’s the kind of book that takes recovering from, the type of book that you’re almost thankful you don’t see more of—but then after a while you’re not. You’re wishing you could find another book like it. But you can’t.

It’s about Nina, except that’s not her real name, that’s just the name she uses. We never find out her real name, or where her parents are, just that they’ve left her in this big house alone and she’s working some lame job and hanging out with her boyfriend at the bar.

When Nina starts hanging out in front of the bar and going with men back to their cars, she says she does it for money, but she also knows that’s not true. And maybe that’s the theme of this gorgeous novel, the reason she does what she does, which is not the kind of thing one says in a sentence, or even a paragraph. It takes a whole book.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Stephen Elliott

Stephen Elliott is the author of the novel Happy Baby and the political memoir Looking Forward To It.

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