Cover image for Pages for you
Pages for you
Brownrigg, Sylvia.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001.
Physical Description:
vii, 263 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Library

On Order



In a steam-filled diner in a college town, Flannery Jansen catches sight of something more beautiful than she's ever seen: a graduate student, reading. The seventeen-year-old is shocked by her own desire to follow this beauty wherever it will take her. As luck would have it, Flannery finds herself enrolled in a class with the remote, brilliant older woman: she is intimidated at first, but gradually becomes Anne Arden's student outside of class as well. Whatever the subject -- Baudelaire, lipstick colors, or how to travel with a lover -- Flannery proves an eager pupil, until one day she learns more about Anne than she ever wanted to know.

Author Notes

Sylvia Brownrigg is the author of the novel "The Metaphysical Touch" (FSG, 1999) & a collection of short stories, "Ten Women Who Shook the World" (FSG, 2000). She lives in San Francisco.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Coming-of-age novels that focus on sexual initiation were once the exclusive territory of straight male writers, but, thankfully, women now write authentically, unashamedly, profoundly, and directly about their sensual feelings, including those for each other. Here, 17-year-old Californian Flannery is new to the East Coast and the Ivy League college she attends, and is drawn irresistibly to Anne, a teaching assistant 11 years her senior. A hauntingly beautiful love develops between the two in this tale either for young readers first discovering who they are and how they love, or for those remembering a rose-colored past. Brownrigg lingers delectably on the small, suggestive gesture, such as a throaty murmur of indecision, but her otherwise exquisite timing falters at the end, condensing the length and texture of Flannery's grief. Some may read this with alarm at the inherently unequal power structure between the two women, seeing a minor-aged innocent exploited. But among those whose same-sex yearnings first attached themselves to teachers, some may sigh, not over past desires unfulfilled, but the fond recollections of what might have been. --Whitney Scott

Publisher's Weekly Review

The narrator of Brownrigg's thoroughly engaging new novel asks this question of her departed lover: "What would happen if I wrote some pages for you? Each day a page... to show you that I am finding a story, the story of how we might have been together, once." What follows is roughly 100 short chapters chronicling the rise and fall of one woman's first love. Flannery Jansen, 17 and fresh from a "one-horse town" in California, falls headlong for a teaching assistant at the tony (and never named) East Coast university she attends. Page by page, Brownrigg captures in delicious and witty prose the rapture and humiliation of first love: first sight, first words, first flirtation, first gift, first kiss, first night, first declaration, first fight and, as the prologue gives away, first betrayal. A lesser writer would be swamped in sentimentality, but Brownrigg handles her material with great good humor and vitality. Readers familiar with Brownrigg's first two books, the novel The Metaphysical Touch and the story collection Ten Women Who Shook the World, know that her characterizations are deft and spare. Here, in pitch-perfect dialogue, she conveys the dueling attitudes of an aspiring writer from the West and a teaching assistant deeply schooled in traditional literary criticism and academic mores. That Flannery's lover, Anne Arden, is a woman is not quite beside the point. The lovers are well aware others might find them "freaks." But refreshingly, Brownrigg doesn't make Flannery and Anne victims. They are simply two girls in love which shouldn't put any readers off. This exquisitely written, bittersweet Valentine of a novel is for any reader who has ever been in a romantic relationship and wants to remember and revel in all the foolish things we do for love. (Apr.) Forecast: Brownrigg's audience of discerning readers will grow with this book, which booksellers may recommend for its wit, fast-moving pace and emotional candor; the sexy jacket speaks for itself. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Pages For You PART ONE T he leaves were confettied brightly over the sidewalk as if a parade had just passed, and Flannery did not think she had ever in her life seen such colors. They would get deeper and more heartfelt, she knew, with warm oranges and pomegranate reds, and she could hardly wait for the experience. Like every other sensation, that sight was still before her. But already they were goldenrod and butternut on the ground, and up in the trees (she looked skyward) infinite greens, all the apple and lime and melon flesh she could imagine. They were so beautiful she wanted to eat them or breathe them, take them inside her, make them part of herself. At the very least, she wanted to not ever forget them. She told her memory to hold on to them; there might come a time later when she would need their solace. She came from a place where autumn meant oncoming dampness and fog, the new drawl of the school year: a plain, dull gravity of shoulders and hope. Nothing like this fierceness of light and the brisk bite of cold on the cheek, which seemed playful, a love nip, rather than a somber slap of warning that winter might come. She was not yet wary of the winters here, having not moved through one. She knew this approaching splendor meant death and decay, the boding of ice-prisoned branches and slippery black streets, butcould not make herself feel the grief in it. All this vividness she could read only as exhilaration. Not melancholy. Flannery abandoned herself to movie clichés of the East she'd learned as a girl in the West. She kicked her tennis-shoed feet through the leaves. She buried her hands in the pockets of her coat, which had a serious weight she was not used to. She knew that this lift of fall glory, which brought her to a shocking peak of happiness--from where, suddenly, she had a complete panoramic view; could see the shape of her future, the blank scope of her forthcoming cities and days--she knew that she would never again reach such a height of pure, sensual pleasure. Never again in her life. She was seventeen. She had no idea about anything, really. And she was about to meet someone--literally, around the next corner. Within that person, a new and altogether unsuspected happiness waited. Copyright © 2001 by Sylvia Brownrigg Excerpted from Pages for You: A Novel by Sylvia Brownrigg All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.