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The Bruise, The Bruise, 1573661449, 1-57366-144-9, 978-1-57366-144-7, 9781573661447, , , The Bruise, 1573668079, 1-57366-807-9, 978-1-57366-807-1, 9781573668071,

The Bruise
by Magdalena Zurawski

Quality Paper
2008. 174 pp.
Price:  $16.95 t
E Book
2009. 152 pp.
Price:  $9.95 t

Winner of Ronald Sukenick Prize for Innovative Fiction


The Bruise is a prize-winning novel of imperative voice and raw sensation. In the sterile dormitories and on the quiet winter greens of an American university, a young woman named M— deals with the repercussions of a strange encounter with an angel, one that has left a large bruise on her forehead. Was the event real or imagined? The bruise does not disappear, forcing M— to confront her own existential fears and her wavering desire to tell the story of her imagination. As a writer, M— is breathless, desperate, and obsessive, questioning the mutations and directions of her words while writing with fevered immediacy. Using rhythmic language, suffused with allusions to literature and art, Magdalena Zurawski recasts the bildungsroman as a vibrant and moving form.

Magdalena Zurawski was born in 1972 to Polish immigrants in New Jersey, where she attended Catholic School for twelve years before escaping north to Rhode Island to study literature. Currently, she lives in Durham, North Carolina. The Bruise is her first book.

"This book is not for everyone. It comprises two stories, maybe three. The outside story: young woman goes to college; life is boring; she eats ham for dinner; she has a female lover; they have sex, which is boring; she goes to writing workshops, writes a story. The other story: the young woman is visited by an angel, who bruises her. And here is where Zurawski gets to the reader. One realizes that the narrator's narcissism and intention for everyone in her life to notice her, to see her in her wounded state, is a metaphor for the narcissism and pathetic boredom of American culture in the 21st century. The question is whether the reader cares enough to get that far. The writing drags its lettered feet. Is this a female David Foster Wallace--men are allowed to do this lettered wallowing, or is it wandering? This reviewer is not sure the journey is worth the wait. To hold one's breath waiting for the plot would not be good for one's health. But the book and writing are clever, one has to give Zurawski that. Summing Up: Optional. All levels."

"The Bruise manages to present all the loops and turns of a mind figuring out where it stands in relation to itself while staying playful and spare and crisp in all the right ways. Quietly funny and benignly obsessive, there are no bells and whistles here, but simply carefully chosen words that render a life in beautifully exact and breathless terms. This is a marvelous debut."
—Brian Evenson

"The real story of a female coming of age is not sex but coming to write. Maggie Zurawski makes magnificent art of something inconsequential or common--the bruise on a young woman's body, a bruise on her head, the story of the world at last."
—Eileen Myles

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