Glatt, Lisa 1963-
GLATT, Lisa 1963-
PERSONAL: Born 1963; married David Hernandez (a poet and visual artist). Education: California State University, Long Beach, bachelor's degree, 1984; Lawrence College, M.F.A.
CAREER: Educator and author. Member of faculty, California State University, Long Beach, beginning 1992; lecturer in English, lecturer, 2000—; University of California, Los Angeles, instructor in writer's exchange program.
AWARDS, HONORS: Mississippi Review Prize, 2002, for fiction.
Monsters and Other Lovers (poetry), Pearl Editions (Long Beach, CA), 1996.
Shelter (poetry), Pearl Editions (Long Beach, CA), 2000.
A Girl Becomes a Comma like That: A Novel, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.
The Apple's Bruise (short stories), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
Work has appeared in numerous publications, including Columbia, Other Voices, Indiana Review, and Swink.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Lisa Glatt wrote numerous short stories and two volumes of poetry before penning her first novel, A Girl Becomes a Comma like That. Originally written as a short story, the novel grew as Glatt wrote additional stories that fit into her overall narrative. "I didn't really choose the novel-in-stories form, but did want there to be a break or a pause between the main narrative, Rachel's story, and the other women who intersect with her life in varying degrees," Glatt told Felicia C. Sullivan in an interview for the Smallspiralnotebook.com.
The novel tells the story of Rachel Spark, a poet and part-time college instructor whose mother is dying of breast cancer. Rachel has moved back in with her mother and, as her despair grows, starts bringing back random lovers to the apartment. Rachel's choice in men is questionable: she is continually attracted to the wrong type of man, including a vintage toaster collector whom she recalls as "Dirk or Derrick or Dick." Woven into the novel are four chapters featuring the stories of three women who cross paths with Rachel. Commenting on one of her themes in the novel, Glatt told Sullivan, "I'm interested in the idea of abandonment, both in how we do it daily when we say goodbye with every intention of seeing some people again—those closest to us that very evening after work or whatever—and also the way that death separates us finally and fully, and how we function together despite this."
A Kirkus Reviews contributor felt that A Girl Becomes a Comma like That would have been better broken up into short fiction pieces but noted that "Glatt's interweaving of people and plots can sometimes hit a mark . . . and she has a good feel for how one's insecurities translate into risky behavior." Bette-Lee Fox, writing in Library Journal, wrote that "Glatt's first novel explores women's physical and mental health through the shifting lives of her characters." Fox found Rachel to be the novel's "least sympathetic" character but noted, "Glatt writes well." A contributor to O commented, "How a woman might begin to break down that wall [of pent up emotion] is the welcome insight in this story of wayward love." Lisa Zeidner, writing in the New York Times Book Review, called the novel "appealingly dark" even as she found its "patchwork construction" hinders reader in keeping the "characters straight, especially since they don't interact all that much." Zeidner also stated, "The central narrative here—about Rachel's vigil with her dying mother—is the most authentic, substantial and engaging." Elizabeth Gold noted in the Washington Post that the novel's chapters about the other women "feel intrusive and unnecessary, but that cannot erase the vitality of this book, or of Rachel, who, far from being a comma, is a true—if prickly—heroine of her own story."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2004, review of A GirlBecomes a Comma like That, p. 348.
Library Journal, June 15, 2004, Bette-Lee Fox, review of A Girl Becomes a Comma like That, p. 58.
New York Times Book Review, June 6, 2004, Lisa Zeidner, review of A Girl Becomes a Comma like That, p. 13.
O, June, 2004, review of A Girl Becomes a Comma like That, p. 148.
Publishers Weekly, April 5, 2004, review of A GirlBecomes a Comma like That, p. 34.
Washington Post Book World, May 30, 2004, Elizabeth Gold, review of A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That, section T, p. 13.
California State University, Long Beach, Web site,http://www.csulb.edu/ (September, 2004), Richard Manly, "Glatt Garners Attention with First Novel,"; (October 13, 2004) Ted Goslin, "English Professors Write as They Teach."
Lisa Glatt Home Page,http://www.lisaglatt.com (October 21, 2004).
Smallspiralnotebook.com,http://www.smallspiralnotebook.com/ (October 13, 2004), Felicia C. Sullivan, interview with Glatt.*