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Now back in print for the first time since 1969, a stunning novel about childhood, marriage, and divorce by one of the most interesting minds of the twentieth century.
Dream and reality overlap in Divorcing, a book in which divorce is not just a question of a broken marriage but names a rift that runs right through the inner and outer worlds of Sophie Blind, its brilliant but desperate protagonist. Can the rift be mended? Perhaps in the form of a novel, one that goes back from present-day New York to Sophie’s childhood in pre–World War II Budapest, that revisits the divorce between her Freudian father and her fickle mother, and finds a place for a host of further tensions and contradictions in her present life. The question that haunts Divorcing, however, is whether any novel can be fleet and bitter and true and light enough to gather up all the darkness of a given life.
Susan Taubes’s startlingly original novel was published in 1969 but largely ignored at the time; after the author’s tragic early death, it was forgotten. Its republication presents a chance to discover a splintered, glancing, caustic, and lyrical work by a dazzlingly intense and inventive writer.
About the Author
Susan Taubes (1928-1969) was born to a Jewish family in Hungary. The daughter of a psychoanalyst, Taubes emigrated to the US in 1939 and studied religion at Harvard. She married the philosopher and scholar Jacob Taubes and taught religion at Columbia University from 1960–69. She committed suicide in 1969, soon after the publication of Divorcing.
David Rieff is the author of ten books, including The Exile: Cuba in the Heart of Miami; Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West; A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis; Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir; and, most recently, In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and its Ironies. He lives in New York City.
“[T]his formally bold novel will gratify admirers of Taubes' friend and contemporary Susan Sontag, Elizabeth's Hardwick's Sleepless Nights, and Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye. . . . A wry and cerebral study of identity, marriage, sex, and the interleafing of personal, familial, and national history.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hungarian American writer Taubes first published this brilliant fever dream of the life, loves, and travels of Sophie Blind shortly before her death in 1969. . . . The result parses how a thinking woman might have gone about divorcing herself from a society that defined her in ways over which she had no control. Taubes’s stylistically innovative book is essential reading for fans of Renata Adler.” —Publishers Weekly
“Divorcing is often very funny, always alive, bursting with ideas, full of formal vitality and change. . . . [T]his feels like a book both stuffed with fiction and nonfiction, memory and play.” —Scott Cheshire, The Washington Post