She is having three affairs at once: with an S&M pornographer, a beautiful woman found through a personal ad, and a randy heterosexual bartender. Two of her lovers don't know her real name...and that's exactly how she wants it. To escape her past, and perhaps find herself, this smart, troubled, and hilariously cynical young New Yorker is fabricating another identity. As Rose Anne Waldin, or Rosie, she doesn't have a mother who still haunts her, nor an ex-husband who kicked her out after her numerous infidelities. But she does have a new apartment, dyed hair, different clothes -- and an obsession with murder. It is Rosie's intention to break society's taboos, test its limits, push the envelope...and get away with a shocking, perhaps violent, act. With an intoxicating velocity, Bye-Bye pulls us into the netherworld of the New York performance art scene, the steamy arena of sexual pick-ups and put-ons, and the back alleys of a broken heart. Award-winning first novelist and poet Jane Ransom has created a daring black comedy, a psychological thriller edged with an utterly original class of conundrum. Fearless, erotically charged, and ultimately affirming about the catharsis of fantasy, creativity, and desire, Bye-Bye is a fast, literary, brave new read.
Reading Group Guide
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Reading Group Guide ABOUT THIS GUIDE The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for discussion for Jane Ransom's Bye-Bye. We hope that these ideas will enrich your discussion and increase your enjoyment of the book. Many fine books from Washington Square Press include Reading Group Guides. For a complete listing, or to read the Guides online, visit http://www.simonsays.com/reading/guides DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
The catalyst for the narrator's behavior seems to be the break-up of her marriage. What do you see as the reasons the marriage deteriorated?
We know the narrator's assumed name, Rose Anne Waldin. But we don't know her real name or the names of several other important characters in the book. What are they called? How does their "namelessness" shape the way we view them?
What is the narrator's new identity like? In what ways does it differ from her own?
The narrator is fascinated with the "Andorgenie." Why do you think this performance artist holds such an attraction for her?
Much of the novel focuses on the narrator's sexual adventures. What is her role with each of her lovers? What are her feelings about each one?
Although the narrator is very cynical about psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, she frequently analyzes her own behavior. What reasons does she give for acting as she does?
In talking about her family, the narrator tells a riddle, pointing out that she correctly answered it as a child. What is the riddle's relationship to the rest of the book? Is it symbolic of what is going on in the narrator's life?
What is the narrator's father like? Her brother? Why do you think she finally decides, after eighteen years, to go back home?
Why do you think the narrator's last lover is the bartender? Why do you think he is called The Bartender? Is his name symbolic? He is also a locksmith. Does this have a particular significance?
What or who is the narrator saying "bye-bye" to? Does she succeed? What do you think is going to happen to her?
West Coast Review of BooksBasic Instinct in book form.
Harry Matthews author of The Journalist and Singular Pleasures The freshest writing about sex since Henry Miller.
Philadelphia City Paper Fun and relentlessly honest...a vibrant humor shines through the book; it's never grim.
Frederick Morgan editor of The Hudson Review A fiendishly funny and sinister shocker.
Publishers Weekly The sex scenes, handled unapologetically and without coyness, are vivid and fresh.
Harry Matthews author of The Journalist and Singular Pleasures The most exciting book of its kind to come along in years. And just what is its kind? That of the quest for truth -- truth as immediate reality, rather than as a relic to be stashed in a savings account. The quest is pursued through the intertwining tangles of love, bisexual eroticism, and perhaps friendship.
Lucy Grealy author of Autobiography of a Face Reading Bye-Bye, I felt driven by the desire to see what would happen next. The protagonist explores some mighty perturbing situations but ultimately, this is a book about "self" and also, more subtly, about bravery, for to view oneself as honestly as his character does requires nothing short of courage.
Frederick Morgan editor of The Hudson Review Jane Ransom is gifted with a sharp eye for telling detail, a keen ear for the twists and turns of colloquial speech, and a wicked wit.