Maso was born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1956, the child of her jazz musician father and her emergency room nurse mother.
Maso admits she was not an avid reader in childhood. Indeed, she did not write creatively until her senior year at Vassar, when she submitted about 50 pages of prose poems as her senior honors thesis. It is at this point that she knew she wanted to be a writer.
Maso eschewed the traditional path to teaching, having never studied formally beyond her Vassar B.A., despite having been offered a graduate fellowship at Boston University. Rather, she devoted 9 years to learning the craft by doing, writing while alternately working as a waitress, artist's model, and fencing instructor. She also did some house- and cat-sitting, which afforded her time to write. Maso has referred to this period as her "apprenticeship years."
The Art Lover by Carole Maso is promo and meta-fictional but effortlessly so, without pretense. The narrator is caring for a male friend dying of AIDS, but we also hear the voice of "Carole Maso," the novelist struggling to tell the story, as well as an interpolated scrapbook of everyday NYC imagery, including hand-lettered signs and the charts of the night sky the Times used to publish. It is all seamless and tender and powerful. No one else's take on the age of AIDS sounds (or looks) like The Art Lover, and yet Maso assembles it all so naturally that, after a few pages and a few star charts, you wonder why every novel can't be like this. --David PrattFurther Readings:
The American Woman in the Chinese Hat by Carole Maso
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Plume (October 1, 1995)
Amazon: The American Woman in the Chinese Hat
Carole Maso's stunning, erotic fourth novel chronicles the dark, irresistible adventures of an American writer named Catherine who has come to France to live. Set into motion by a single act of abandonment--Catherine's lover of ten years has left her--she falls deeper and deeper into an irretrievable madness. With passionate abandon and detachment Catherine pursues her own destruction. Forcing the boundaries of identity and the limits of her eroticism, she enters a series of blinding sexual encounters with a poet, a fascist, a young Arlesian woman, a fireman, and three thieves. Eerily she splits herself in two so that she is both the one who watches and the one who is watched, creator and creation, author and character, as she observes herself from afar. "And I would like to help her," the one who watches says, "but I can't."
This mesmerizing drama of sex, betrayal, and dissolution is played out against the dazzling backdrop of the beautiful, indifferent Cote d'Azur in summer. Written in a dwindling lexicon with a simple, warped musicality, The American Woman in the Chinese Hat is a dark, uncompromising, seductive work of art.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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