Surrender, Dorothy

A Novel

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For years, Sara Swerdlow was transported by an unfettered sense of immortality. Floating along on loving friendships and the adoration of her mother, Natalie, Sara's notion of death was entirely alien to her existence. But when a summer night's drive out for ice cream ends in tragedy, thirty-year-old Sara -- "held aloft and shimmering for years" -- finally lands.

Mining the intricate relationship between love and mourning, acclaimed novelist Meg Wolitzer explores a single, overriding question: who, finally, "owns" the excruciating loss of this young woman -- her mother or her closest friends? Depicting the aftermath of Sara's shocking death with piercing humor and shattering realism, Surrender, Dorothy is the luminously thoughtful, deeply moving exploration of what it is to be a mother and a friend, and, above all, what it takes to heal from unthinkable loss.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439125748 | 
  • August 2010
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Chapter 1: Brown-Eyed Girl

What a couple they made, the heterosexual woman and the homosexual man! Not just this particular couple, but all others like them, men and women freed from the netting of sexual love, from the calamities that regularly plagued their more predictably coupled-up friends. They felt sorry for those friends, who always seemed to tangle together in unhappy beds and who fought viciously in the dead of night, the men clattering down flights of stairs, Nikes still unlaced, belts still lolling unbuckled, the women standing at the top in tears, calling out vaguely, "Wait!"

Sex led to crying; this was a universal... see more

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide
A Conversation with Meg Wolitzer
Q: Your books all offer highly detailed depictions of day-to-day life as many of us live it today. In this sense, your work follows the prescriptions of Jane Austen -- who saw fiction as a mirror held up to reality -- and Sir Walter Scott, who defined the novel as just a reflection of the everyday doings of ordinary people. Do you see your novels as mirrors of reality? What sorts of novels do you imagine Jane Austen would be writing today?
A: Trends in novels have changed a great deal since Jane Austen's time, and the big, realistic, "mirror" novel is only one kind out of many being written today. But it happens to be the kind that I'm drawn to again and again, both as a Writer and a reader. I'm not sure fiction "should" do anything in particular, but when I read a book that really shows me the inner mechanics of people's livesthe moments of tedium and epiphany -- I feel extremely grateful. It's not that I consciously set out to provide a mirror of reality when I write fiction, but because I myself am so curious about other people-the way they think and talk and the complexities of the world they've constructed for themselves -- I always end up putting some of this into my books. If I hadnt been a writer, I think I would have enjoyed being a psychoanalyst -- just so I could have these stories told to me all day. lf Jane Austen were writing today, I think her novels would be as wry and kno see more

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