A New and Glorious Life

A New and Glorious Life

Fiction | 1998

Three novellas by a writer who “writes past the point where many writers stop, trusting her characters to deliver aspects of themselves previously undetected,” said Publishers Weekly of this collection of portraits of artists and intellectuals behaving badly, foolishly, and occasionally bravely.  “Auslander” is the story of a translator whose self-imposed isolation is dramatically disrupted by a Romanian philosopher whose wife is a brilliant, untranslated poet; “Hope Among Men” is a postmodern fairy tale–or a literary romantic comedy (of errors)–which follows Hope in the course of her ill-fated romances with boyfriends named Heartache and Misery; and the title novella, “A New and Glorious Life,” a contemporary retelling of Chekhov’s “Lady With the Pet Dog,” set in an artists’ colony, considers the question of whether one can, in fact, be redeemed by love.

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“These novellas have a psychological depth and acute worldliness one associates with continental fiction.  Michelle Herman’s sympathies bridge generations and genders; her intelligence conveys both the lovingness and coldness of the way we live now.  Her work is a sophisticated pleasure.”

 —Phillip Lopate