Cover image for Kissing cousins : a memory
Kissing cousins : a memory
Calisher, Hortense.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, [1988]

Physical Description:
118 pages ; 21 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3553.A4 Z463 1988 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

Hortense Calisher, 1911-2009 Author Hortense Calisher was born in Manhattan, New York on December 20, 1911. She graduated from Barnard College in 1932 with a degree in English composition. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a sales clerk, a model, and a social worker. She wrote a total of 23 novels and short story collections during her lifetime including In the Absence of Angels (1951), False Entry (1961), Tale for the Mirror (1962), Textures of Life (1963), The New Yorkers (1969), and Sunday Jews (2002). Her memoir, Herself, an exploration of the intersection between a writer's life and her fiction, was published in 1972. Many of her short works have been anthologized and she is a contributor of short stories, articles and reviews to the New York Times, Harpers and other journals. She also lectured on literature and taught creative writing at several colleges and universities including Columbia University and Bennington College in Vermont. She received four Henry Awards and two Guggenheim Fellowships. She died on January 13, 2009 at the age of 97.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In this evocative memoir, Calisher offers paeans to her ``kissing cousin'' Katie, who is ``part of the family in every respect except blood.'' Now in her 80s and still able to quell an untidy thought with a withering glare, Katie has served as Calisher's surrogate mother, confidante, and link to her complex Jewish-southern roots. Over the years, she has also kept Calisher youthful in outlook. Moving back and forth in time, Calisher hones the random impressions of childhood with meaningful recollections and astute judgments on the bonds of kinship. These lovely reminiscences are also filled with insights into Calisher's development as a writer. DPD.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Calisher's ``kissing cousin''part of her family in every respect except bloodwas spunky Katie Pyle, the girl with ``brown teacup eyes.'' When the author, a cheerfully arrogant 15-year-old born to a Southern Jewish family, had trouble coping in tough New York City, Katie, 15 years her senior, was there to give moral support. Through the decades their friendship served as a wellspring that preserved the pristine spontaneity of their shared childhoods. Calisher brings to this slim, brave, deeply affecting memoir the gift for sharply drawn characters and gimlet wit that mark her novels ( False Entry , The New Yorkers ) and short stories. ``My family went down like the Lusitania ,'' she writes after her mother died. Katie helped her weather the storm. Skipping from Port Washington, N.Y., to Port Charlotte, Fla., and following Katie in her metamorphosis from mother-sister figure to wartime nurse to elegant old lady, Calisher keeps the flame of memory and friendship burning bright in a splendid performance. (September) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved