What Ever A Living Novel

Heather Woodbury

Faber & Faber



Trade Paperback

352 Pages



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Focusing on the lives of more than a dozen characters—among them the Oregon rave boy Skeeter, hitchhiking across the country; the progressive-thinking octogenarian Violet, remembering her life from her bohemian youth in prewar Paris to her jazz-clubbing in postwar Greenwich Village; and the street-smart prostitute Bushie, holding forth on the profanity of the world—Heather Woodbury has forged a unique kind of fiction that combines the immediacy of performance art with the narrative structure and subtle characterization of a tradition novel. Taking off from her acclaimed one-woman show of the same title, Woodbury continually surprises in this novel with her ability to create new forms while always locating the unique, resonant humanity that links all the characters to one another—and to the reader.


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What Ever
PART ONECHAPTER 1IN WHICH VIOLET AND IRIS DISCUSS FORBIDDEN DANCESOur story begins long ago, in the early 1990s, when a couple of old ladies convene at the end of a counter in a bustling Greek diner on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Both are well dressed in the manner of patrician American women who hit their stride in around 1930-something--jaunty hats, handsome old furs, snappy blouses, and once-saucy skirts. One is dressed neatly and primly, however, while the other wears colors just a bit too bright for her phase of life and has a gleam in her eye a bit out of step with her
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  • Heather Woodbury

  • Heather Woodbury is a native of northern California. In her late teens, she moved to New York City's East Village and became involved in the early '90s performance art scene, where she developed her method of generating material via improvisational writing and performance. Throughout those years she lived in several NYC neighborhoods, was employed as a go-go dancer, a barmaid, and a cater waiter, and crisscrossed the country several times by car, train, bus, and thumb. Woodbury has received numerous awards as a performer and playwright. In 2001, she received an award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, as well as an NEA Fellowship for her new work Tale Of 2 Cities: An American Joyride.