Taylor, Katherine 1973-
Taylor, Katherine 1973-
Born April 18, 1973. Education: Columbia University, M.F.A.
Home—Los Angeles, CA. Agent—Elizabeth Sheinkman, Curtis Brown Ltd., Haymarket House 28-29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP, England.
Pushcart Prize; McGinnis-Ritchie Award in fiction.
Rules for Saying Goodbye, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including Plowshares, Southwest Review, and Shenandoah.
The seemingly autobiographical basis of her first novel, Rules for Saying Goodbye, led Katherine Taylor to give the protagonist her own first name, and while the book is a work of fiction, much of the framework follows Taylor's life story. The author lived in Fresno, California, until her adolescence, when her mother sent her to boarding school on the East Coast. After moving to New York City as a young adult, Taylor received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was a graduate writing fellow. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
The protagonist of Rules for Saying Goodbye shares this personal history. Described as a coming-of-age novel, the book follows the fictional Katherine from her home in rural California to boarding school on the East Coast, back to California to college, then to New York for graduate school. Most of the story takes place during Katherine's postgraduate life, as she circulates among friends and lovers and travels back and forth from New York to Europe, coping with the changes she faces in relationships, friends, and herself as she grows older. Along the way Katherine develops the set of witty rules referred to in the title, introduced partway through the novel, which the critic for Publishers Weekly thought was "the best thing in the book."
Reviewers were mixed in their response to Rules for Saying Goodbye. Amanda Glasbrenner of Library Journal enjoyed Taylor's writing but took issue with the characters, commenting that although Taylor "beautifully conjures the unmoored and uncertain feelings of young adulthood," her narrator is unsympathetic. A critic for Kirkus Reviews felt similarly, saying "Taylor relays Katherine's life in jolting spurts, making it difficult to emotionally commit" to both Katherine and the other characters. However, Bookslut Web site contributor Krista Walton called Taylor "a skilled writer, maintaining a consistent tone throughout the novel that squelches any sense of over-dramatization while teasing out endearing observations from the most commonplace events. She is never sensational, rarely trite, always smart." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly likewise deemed Taylor "a superb satirist, eviscerating everyone in her Katherine's path," and added, "Taylor manages to make worn New York yarns feel fresh again."
Taylor has won a Pushcart Prize and the McGinnis-Ritchie Award in fiction. Her short stories have been published in Plowshares, Southwest Review, and Shenandoah.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of Rules for Saying Goodbye.
Library Journal, May 1, 2007, Amanda Glasbrenner, review of Rules for Saying Goodbye, p. 76.
Publishers Weekly, March 5, 2007, review of Rules for Saying Goodbye, p. 34.
Bookslut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (January 23, 2008), Krista Walton, review of Rules for Saying Goodbye.
Katherine Taylor Home Page,http://www.katherinetaylor.com (January 23, 2008).