Almost Famous Women

Almost Famous Women

Stories

Book - 2015
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From the acclaimed author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise , a dazzling new collection that explores the lives of unforgettable women in history.

The fascinating characters in Megan Mayhew Bergman's new stories are defined by their creative impulses, fierce independence, and sometimes reckless decisions. In "The Siege at Whale Cay," cross-dressing Standard Oil heiress Joe Carstairs seduces Marlene Dietrich. In "A High-Grade Bitch Sits Down for Lunch," aviator and writer Beryl Markham lives alone in Nairobi and engages in a battle of wills with a stallion. In "Hell-Diving Women," the first integrated, all-girl swing band sparks a violent reaction in North Carolina.

Other heroines, born in proximity to the spotlight, struggle to distinguish themselves: Lord Byron's illegitimate daughter, Allegra; Oscar Wilde's wild niece, Dolly; Edna St. Vincent Millay's talented sister, Norma; James Joyce's daughter, Lucia.

Almost Famous Women offers and elegant and intimate look at artists who desired recognition. The world wasn't always kind to the women who star in these stories, but through Mayhew Bergman's stunning imagination, they receive the attention they deserve.
Publisher: New York ;, Toronto :, Scribner,, 2015
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476786568
Branch Call Number: F BER
Characteristics: 236 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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p
peacebenow
Jul 20, 2017

Mayhew is an excellent writer and all these stories were well told. I mostly felt a sense of doom while reading so wasn't sad when this book ended

m
MAXWHELAN
Sep 26, 2016

The story about the twins (connected) is almost too surreal to pass up. Read with one eye shut- then tell a friend she has to read it too. Hard to believe these women went through life like that...

QueenBoadicea Jul 17, 2015

These short stories touch the lives of women who slipped sideways through history, the ones attached to more famous siblings or who were ostracized because of race, color or sexual orientation. Some of these names were not so obscure as the writer would have us think. Dolly Wilde, Allegra (Byron’s illegitimate daughter) and Beryl Markham are names that I’ve heard about elsewhere. But these little fictions give them such breadth and weight, I couldn’t help but want to know more about them.

None of these stories are biographies, merely imagined and imaginary vignettes peering into the hearts of their female protagonists. Sometimes, the woman herself is only peripheral to the story, acting as a catalyst or providing a jolt of memory to a stranger briefly touched by her life. But, whether grim, insouciant, drug filled, pathetic or joyous, these ladies come alive in a way that makes them seem absolutely diverting. Knowing them might bring others pain but they suffuse ordinary lives with a rapture they would not have known otherwise.

FindingJane Jul 17, 2015

These short stories touch the lives of women who slipped sideways through history, the ones attached to more famous siblings or who were ostracized because of race, color or sexual orientation. Some of these names were not so obscure as the writer would have us think. Dolly Wilde, Allegra (Byron’s illegitimate daughter) and Beryl Markham are names that I’ve heard about elsewhere. But these little fictions give them such breadth and weight, I couldn’t help but want to know more about them.

None of these stories are biographies, merely imagined and imaginary vignettes peering into the hearts of their female protagonists. Sometimes, the woman herself is only peripheral to the story, acting as a catalyst or providing a jolt of memory to a stranger briefly touched by her life. But, whether grim, insouciant, drug filled, pathetic or joyous, these ladies come alive in a way that makes them seem absolutely diverting. Knowing them might bring others pain but they suffuse ordinary lives with a rapture they would not have known otherwise.

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