Dyson, Cindy 1967–
Dyson, Cindy 1967–
PERSONAL: Born 1967; married; children. Education: Graduted from University of Missouri, Columbia (cum laude).
ADDRESSES: Agent—Marly Rusoff & Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 524, Bronxville, NY 10708. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, novelist, and journalist. Worked as a reporter and cocktail waitress.
And She Was (novel), William Morrow (New York, NY) 2005.
Contributor to periodicals such as Backpacker, Boy's Life, National Geographic World, Icon, and Women's World. Author of children's books and of literary biographies in "BioCritiques" series for Chelsea House Publishers.
SIDELIGHTS: Cindy Dyson is a journalist and novelist who grew up in Alaska. While working as a cocktail waitress in the Aleutian Islands, she served drinks at the Elbow Room, a bar that (according to the Rusoff Agency Web site) was named the "most despicable" in America by Playboy magazine. This experience provided the underpinning for Dyson's debut novel, And She Was, which the author called "a fusion of my journalistic training and my wayward past" in an autobiographical note on the Rusoff Agency Web site.
In the mid-1980s, Brandy, the protagonist of And She Was, finds herself drifting aimlessly from one temporary boyfriend to another, her identity defined not by her own attributes but by whomever she is seeing at the time. On a whim, Brandy follows her current boyfriend, a pleasant and gentle sort who she still keeps at an emotional distance, to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, an Aleutian fishing town. There she finds questionable work waiting tables at the notorious Elbow Room. As Brandy interacts with the local population and clientele at the bar, including a cocaine-addled prostitute named Bessie and a small, surly drunk named Little Liz, she begins to learn about the history of the Aleuts, who were devastated by the Russians in the eighteenth century.
Critics felt that Dyson's debut was successful. Jennifer Mattson, writing in Booklist, commented that "Dyson's talent is overwhelmingly evident in her nimble balancing of tribal perspectives and those of her canny, questing protagonist." Dyson "has created an unforgettable first novel," commented Jane Baird in Library Journal. Similarly, a Publishers Weekly reviewer stated that the author "delivers an original and provocative first novel."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of And She Was, p. 33.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of And She Was, p. 934.
Library Journal, September 1, 2005, Jane Baird, review of And She Was, p. 128.
Publishers Weekly, August 29, 2005, review of And She Was, p. 29.
Cindy Dyson Home Page, http://www.cindydyson.com (November 16, 2005).
Rusoff Agency Web site, http://www.rusoffagency.com/ (November 16, 2005), autobiography of Cindy Dyson.