Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer’s latest novel, The Injured Party, will be reviewed here by Patrick Parrinder. She is a professor of English at Brooklyn College.


Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, 12 July 1990

A well-known author with reason to suspect people who arrive bearing gifts of extravagant praise likes to tell this story. An African woman who had just had a child saw someone approaching her hut intending to view her new infant and compliment it. The mother ran as fast as she could, hid the baby, and in its place substituted a stone, which she wrapped in the baby’s blanket. The guest arrived and proceeded to tell the mother what a beautiful baby she had and began making predictions about the wonderful destiny awaiting the infant. When the guest left, the mother loosened the blanket, unwrapped the stone, and found it shattered into little pieces.

Poem: ‘Ski Lift’

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, 5 April 1990

I thought all I felt was annoyance, not even anger, So many plans to change, we were in the wrong country, On the other side of an ocean, words get changed Coming through water, I thought, don’t tell me this, I don’t want to hear it, I thought it’s wrong To tell me my father died while I’m standing Here naked and wet, wrapped in a towel, my hair wet, You don’t...

Poem: ‘Sherlock Holmes’

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, 23 October 1986

From the mansion staircase the marble floor is a chessboard And she is a round plump pawn moving from square to square Scrubbing that floor clean,

While up above, the detective watches her As rounds of light pick out this object and that, Saying: this belongs to the guilty party, As does this, and this, and this,

And on the chessboard that is his mind, He moves them from place to place, and...

Kith, Kin and Cuckoo

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, 5 December 1985

In Lost Children Polly Toynbee has, for reasons she never makes clear, interviewed many – she does not say how many – adopted children who, after the Children’s Act of 1975 was passed, set out in search of their biological parents. Her book presents us with nine ‘case-studies’ of children who searched for and found their parents, not always with happy results. Whenever possible, she interviewed the biological parent in order to illuminate the reasons why women give children up and the toll this decision takes. Not surprisingly, she has discovered that women who gave their children up did so for good and pressing reasons and that many of them, even if they did not regret the decision, later lived with a feeling of loss. She also discovered that adopted children who searched for their biological parents had not, generally, been happy in their adoptive homes, and even those who had been happily placed had strong fantasies about who their natural mothers were and what they were like.’

Shakespeare the Novelist

John Sutherland, 28 September 1989

According to news reports, Peru is crumbling fast. The unfortunate country’s latest – and possibly terminal – woes began in 1980, after 12 years of military junta, with the...

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Shedding one’s sicknesses

Patrick Parrinder, 20 November 1986

‘In the middle of the journey of this life, I found myself in a dark forest, where the straight way was lost.’ The theme of mid-life crisis has inspired a number of great novels...

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Angela and the Beast

Patricia Craig, 5 December 1985

Angela Carter’s Black Venus is Baudelaire’s Creole mistress Jeanne Duval, whose hair the poet once likened to a sea of ebony, among other things; his enchantment and her...

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