"A gorgeous tragicomic novel of working-class New Orleans. Zib and Wilson Bailey--Jerusha's two grown kids--think the thick cloud of cigarette smoke enveloping their mother is what probably killed their father. Certainly the toxicity of Jerusha Bailey's dark and cynical attitudes has driven her children far from home. Wilson has escaped to Chicago, married, converted to Judaism, become a professor of Organic Evolution, all of which earns his mother's scorn. She doesn't think much of her daughter either: Zib, almost forty, unmarried and directionless, has made it only as far as the Florida Panhandle, where she's the assistant manager at the local Winn-Dixie and must fight off her boss's affections.
So obliviously isolated is Jerusha, only one person is left in her sights: Dustin Puglia, chubby, wise, and fearless, a ten-year-old living next door with a poisonous mother of his own. The two become attached in this hilarious story of responsibility and blame. Secondhand Smoke is a deeply universal tale of blunt truth and hard-earned redemption."
" Odds is about personal "triage" in the face of life's uncertainties: the dilemma of deciding whom to save and how. It is also about the factors in a person's life which affect the odds of realizing one's own choices.
Anna Riggs Duffy is a woman painfully out of touch with her own needs. Raised overprotectively by an ever-critical mother, devoted to her severely handicapped child, and committed to a marriage that rests on a precarious foundation, Anna is trapped in a life that leaves her longing for some sense of order. Lured by the seductive sense of calm she finds at the slot machines, Anna turns to gambling and depletes her savings. Unlike the odds that life gave her, or even the casino's odds, Anna's odds for survival come to rest squarely on purposefulness, instead of on accident and probability."
"Eleanor Rushing knows Maxim Walters loves her. At the crowded city council meeting, he chooses to sit beside her; from his pulpit, he preaches only to her, a vision in white sitting in the first pew. Soon, he invites her along on a business trip to Nashville, where they make love all night long. But Maxim sees things a little differently. The distinguished and very married preacher denies his love for Eleanor, but she understands his reluctance to walk away from the plain wife and the narrow path of virtue he chose long ago. Refusing to be refused, Eleanor showers Maxim with gifts and volunteers at the church simply to be near him. In this narrative tour-de-force--at once hilarious and deeply moving--Friedmann gives a memorable look at the willfulness of obsessive love, the caustic mix of money and leisure, and the power of memory to damage the soul."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patty Friedmann is the author of two previous books: TOO SMART TO BE RICH (1988) and THE EXACT IMAGE OF MOTHER (1991). Her articles and reviews have appeared regularly in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, the TIMES PICAYUNE, and SMALL PRESS MAGAZINE. Her short fiction has appeared in SHORT STORY, LOUISIANA LITERATURE, LOUISIANA ENGLISH JOURNAL, and XAVIER REVIEW. She lives in New Orleans.