The Life Before Her Eyes

by Laura Kasischke

Diana and Maureen stand before a mirror, preening. Suddenly, they are interrupted by a classmate holding a gun. "Which one of you shall I kill?" he asks. One of the girls, beautiful, blond, worldly Diana, in the space of this novel, will see her life pass before her eyes--her high school years with Maureen, as well as her future life as a wife and mother at age forty--a future that will be paid for by the horrific decision she is asked to make in this moment.

In prose infused with the dramatically feminine sensuality of spring, we vividly experience the insouciant pleaseure of Diana's youth--the orgies of talking and eating and fantasizing; the awkward heated forays into sex; the fresh, fragile, construction of an identity. Set against these are the more mundane tasks of Diana's adulthood--protecting her beloved daughter, planning her garden, holding on to her accomplished husband. As the novel progresses, we see how inevitable a life seems when looked at backwards. How much of life is lost to youth, and what is gained because of that loss. How the boisterous promise of spring can threaten the protective instincts of a mother. How a nightmare faced long ago can echo like a dirge beneath each new spring.

Laura Kasischke has ingeniously created a consciousness that encompasses both the truth of a seventeen-year-old's world and the profound transformation that same world has undergone at the age of forty. Shocking, sensually charged, and stunningly original, The Life Before Her Eyes, like the best poetry, finds piercing beauty in the midst of horror and celebrates the glory of life in the face of death.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780156027120
  • ISBN-10: 0156027127
  • Pages: 288
  • Publication Date: 11/11/2002
  • Carton Quantity: 24

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  • About the Book
    Diana stands before the mirror preening with her best friend, Maureen. Suddenly, a classmate enters holding a gun, and Diana sees her life dance before her eyes. In a moment the future she was just imagining--a doting wife and mother at the age of forty--is sealed by a horrific decision she is forced to make. In prose infused with the dramatically feminine sensuality of spring, we experience seventeen-year-old Diana's uncertain steps into womanhood--her awkward, heated forays into sex; her fresh, fragile construction of an identity. Together with the sights and sounds of renewal, we experience the tasks of Diana's adulthood: protecting her beloved daughter and holding onto her successful husband.

    An acclaimed writer and poet, Laura Kasischke has crafted a consciousness that encompasses the truth of a teenager's world and the profound transformation of that world at midlife. Resonant and deeply stirring, The Life Before Her Eyes finds piercing beauty in the midst of a nightmare from long ago that echoes like a dirge beneath each new spring.


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    "Hauntingly original . . . A tour de force."--O Magazine

    "Potent and poetic storytelling. Such is the agility of [Kasischke's] writing that it can encompass both a heinously nihilistic act and a most magical . . . outcome."--Elle

    "Poetic . . . A novel that takes on deep matters of life and death; conscience and consciousness; family, love, and friendship."--Los Angeles Times