Hanauer, Cathi Faye 1962-
Hanauer, Cathi Faye 1962-
Born 1962, in NJ; married Daniel Jones (a writer and editor), 1992; children: Phoebe, Nathaniel. Education: Syracuse University, Newhouse School of Public Communications, B.A. (magna cum laude); University of Arizona, M.F.A.
Writer, editor. Worked as an editor and columnist for Seventeen, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Tango, and the New York Times; former teacher at the New School for Social Research and the University of Arizona.
ASME internship, Seventeen; Wolseley Award for magazine journalism, Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University.
My Sister's Bones (novel), Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1996.
(Editor) The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage (essays), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
Sweet Ruin (novel), Atria Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of articles, essays, and short fiction to publications, including Elle, O, Self, Parenting, Glamour, Tango, Mademoiselle, Seventeen, and other publications. Contributor of monthly columns to Glamour, Mademoiselle, and Seventeen.
Cathi Faye Hanauer began her career writing for magazines. In 1990, Hanauer decided to explore fiction writing, and enrolled in the University of Arizona's M.F.A. program on a full scholarship. There she met her husband-to-be, Daniel Jones, who is also a writer and editor. She continued to freelance while living in Tucson and working on her fiction, and in 1992 sold her first short story, "Leftovers," to Seventeen. Hanauer went on to marry Jones the same year, and they then moved back to New York, where Hanauer worked on her M.F.A. thesis, a novel that became My Sister's Bones. It is the story of two sisters struggling to determine whether they are destined to follow in their parents' footsteps, or if they can become individuals in their own right. A contributor for Publishers Weekly wrote: "The struggles over control in Hanauer's neatly executed first novel go straight to the heart." The book sold as the first in a two-book deal. Hanauer found herself working on the second book in the midst of new motherhood with no domestic help. At the same time, there were several staff changes at her publisher, leaving her to deal with three editors, each of whom was interested in a different type of book. Eventually, the stress of the situation forced Hanauer to walk away from the second novel. She instead turned back to nonfiction and editorial work.
The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage is a collection of essays on domestic rage, written by different women and edited by Hanauer. She believes the project began while she was trying to fulfill her writing and financial responsibilities while also caring full-time for a new baby. The book went on to become a New York Times best seller. Carol Haggas, in a review for Booklist, remarked: "The writing is superb: smart, sassy, and honest—oh, are they honest!" Deborah Solomon, writing for the Women's Review of Books, commented: "Reading this book is like having long lunch with a good friend."
Despite her earlier difficulties writing a second novel, Hanauer returned to fiction with Sweet Ruin. The book examines the experiences of suburban mother Elayna Leopold, who has lost her baby son two years before. Elayna is merely going through the motions of raising her daughter when she finds herself attracted to a young neighbor. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews declared the book to be a "skillfully imagined, bittersweet portrait of marriage and sacrifice." Carol Haggas, again writing for Booklist, praised "Hanauer's keen perceptions and delicate sensitivity."
Hanauer once told CA: "I got interested in writing in high school, mostly because I seemed to be good at it (as opposed to, say, physics or math!). I liked doing it, and it helped me make sense of the world. In college, I studied mostly journalism, which I loved, despite being at a school where some great fiction masters (Raymond Carver, Tess Gallagher, Tobias Wolff) were teaching. But I didn't have confidence that I could write fiction, so I didn't apply to any of their workshops, and I had a great mentor, a man named Bill Glavin, as a journalism professor. After college, as I began doing in-depth journalism and also became a full-time editor, I got more interested in fiction writing and I began to take some workshops in New York, where I lived. I loved the process of writing what I wanted, of being able to write creatively and also, again, to use writing to help me analyze things. I've always been very analytical—obsessive, really. Writing gave me a chance to indulge that.
"My work is influenced by great writing, as all great authors' work is: Wharton, Fitzgerald, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Jane Smiley, Jane Hamilton, Vivian Gornick, Anne Tyler, Updike, Eugenides, McEwan. Also, some of the most brilliant poets: William Blake, William Shakespeare, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, Nina Cassian, Philip Larkin, Tony Hoagland. Also, though, by life: my own, and others', particularly women. I love to observe what's going on around me and try to make sense of it, to try to make something beautiful of what might not feel that way when you're going through it. I love thinking about relationships, particularly male-female, and mother-child. (wonder why?) I'd much rather observe and analyze than participate in some things. Life fascinates me. People fascinate me. I love listening to them talk, and then trying to capture that on paper.
"I think one of the surprises for me is realizing that my characters take on lives of their own; that I can't always control them. Letting go of that control was one of the hardest things for me about learning to write fiction. It's still really hard. But once you create a good, real character and put him or her in a situation, you can sit back and hear his or her voice and let things happen. It's very cool."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlantic Monthly, October, 2004, Sandra Tsing Loh, "A Gloom of One's Own," review of The Bitch inthe House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage, p. 165.
Austin American-Statesman, September 15, 2002, Sharyn Wizda Vane, "What, Me Angry?"
Booklist, August, 2002, Carol Haggas, review of The Bitch in the House, p. 1895; April 15, 2006, Carol Haggas, review of Sweet Ruin, p. 27.
Canadian Woman Studies, fall-winter, 2003, Sharon Ferguson-Hood and Marie Tovell Walker, review of The Bitch in the House, p. 187.
Independent Review, March 14, 2003, Caroline Stacey, "Meet Attila the Honey."
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2006, review of Sweet Ruin, p. 427.
Library Journal, August, 2002, Cynthia Harrison, review of The Bitch in the House, p. 123; April 1, 2005, Kathleen A. Sullivan, review of The Bitch in the House, p. 132; May 1, 2006, Andrea Wyman, review of Sweet Ruin, p. 78.
New York Observer, February 22, 2005, Sheelah Kolhatkar, "The Anthology Orgy."
New York Times, June 13, 2004, "His and Her Books Tattle on Marriage."
People, June 7, 2004, "The Bastard on the Couch"; June 26, 2006, Meghan Sutherland, review of Sweet Ruin, p. 49.
Publishers Weekly, February 12, 1996, review of My Sister's Bones, p. 58; June 17, 2002, review of The Bitch in the House, p. 50; March 20, 2006, review of Sweet Ruin, p. 32.
Teacher Librarian, May, 1999, Ruth Cox, review of My Sister's Bones, p. 45.
Times (London, England), March 8, 2003, Kate Muir, "They're Mad As Hell."
Women's Review of Books, December, 2002, Deborah Solomon, "True Confessions," review of The Bitch in the House, p. 4.
Cathi Hanauer Home Page,http://www.cathihanauer.com (November 26, 2006).
Huffington Post Online,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ (November 26, 2006), author biography.
Literary Mama,http://www.literarymama.com/ (November 26, 2006), Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser, "An Interview with Cathi Hanauer."
New York Times Online,http://www.nytimes.com/ (January 5, 1992), author's wedding announcement.
Patricia Gomez's Web site,http://[email protected]/ (November 26, 2006), "A Sixty-Second Interview with Cathi Hanauer."
Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (November 26, 2006), author biography.
Trash-o-Tron Web site,http://trashotron.com/ (November 26, 2006), review of The Bitch in the House.