Hurley, Valerie 1943-
HURLEY, Valerie 1943-
Born 1943; married; husband's name, John. Education: State University of New York, B.S. (literature; summa cum laude), 1987.
Short story writer, essayist, and novelist. Taught writing in Burlington, VT.
St. Ursula's Girls against the Atomic Bomb (novel), MacAdam/Cage Publishing (San Francisco, CA), 2003.
Contributor of short stories and essays to periodicals, including the Massachusetts Review, Indiana Review, New American Voice, Missouri Review, Literary Review, New Letters, North American Review, Iowa Review, and Boston Review. Work represented in anthologies, including Best American Essays, 1995, edited by Jamaica Kincaid and Robert Atwan, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995; Resurrecting Grace, edited by Marilyn Sewell, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2001; and Writing the Future: Progress and Evolution, edited by David Rothenberg and Wandee Pryor, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Valerie Hurley's short stories and essays have been featured in numerous periodicals and anthologies. Her debut novel, St. Ursula's Girls against the Atomic Bomb, was published in 2003 to critical acclaim. Susan Salter Reynolds noted in the Los Angeles Times of the story: "In this remarkable novel, Hurley leans back and gives her charming character full rein."
On her home page, Hurley describes her childhood as "warm" and "bizarre." Raised by a single father after the age of nine, when her mother passed away, she was heavily influenced by the nuns in her Catholic schools who tried to interest us in salvation by parading us through the funeral home beside the school," as well as by the cold-war-era fatalisms induced by what was thought of as imminent atomic disaster. "Maybe an atmosphere such as this could produce a normal, well-adjusted child—but it was not to be me."
St. Ursula's Girls against the Atomic Bomb tells the story of Raine Rassaby, a quirky eighteen-year-old Jewish girl whose parents enroll her at the Catholic St. Ursula's Girl School. Fighting a personal battle against the injustices of the world, Raine founds a school club, from which the book's title is drawn. She is eventually drawn into an unconventional relationship with her guidance counselor, Al, while also dealing with her boyfriend, Pavel. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called St. Ursula's Girls against the Atomic Bomb "a simple story, narrated in a direct and unpretentious style." Gillian Engberg of Booklist praised Hurley's "sharp dialogue" and "lyrical narration."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of St. Ursula's Girls against the Atomic Bomb, pp. 575-576.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2003, review of St. Ursula's Girls against the Atomic Bomb, p. 1243.
Library Journal, December 2003, Caroline Hallsworth, review of St. Ursula's Girls against the Atomic Bomb, pp. 166-167.
Los Angeles Times, November 23, 2003, Susan Salter Reynolds, review of St. Ursula's Girls against the Atomic Bomb.
MacAdam/Cage Web site,http://www.macadamcage.com/ (August 28, 2004), "Valerie Hurley."
Valerie Hurley Home Page,http://www.valeriehurley.com (August 28, 2004).