Mon amie américaine

A Novel


Publication Date: Apr 12, 2016

176 pp

Trade Paperback

List Price US $14.95
Trim Size (H x W): 5 x 7.5
ISBN: 9781590517598

Ebook

List Price US $12.99
ISBN: 9781590517604


When two colleagues become close friends they believe their friendship will last forever, but when one of them suffers a devastating illness, the bond between them is stretched to a breaking point. 

Two women are film industry colleagues and very close friends. Molly is a charismatic and dynamic Manhattan businesswoman until, at the age of forty, she has a brain aneurysm and falls into a month-long coma. Frightened and debilitated, she is a shadow of her former self.

Michèle, her Parisian friend, must grapple with these changes as she contemplates the nature of her relationship with a now-unrecognizable Molly. Is the bond the same when everything you once loved about a person has changed? What becomes of a friendship you once thought was unbreakable? Author Michèle Halberstadt explores the guilt that arises from these questions with grace and sensitivity.



Excerpt from Mon amie américaine

I took the six flights back upstairs on foot to get some air into my lungs and clear out the cold. By the time I’d turned the key in the lock and pushed open the door, Vincent was coming toward me with a rueful look I’d never known him to have. I’d seen him defeated, depressed—but this was different. It was me he was sorry for, like a doctor with bad news he wished he didn’t have to announce.

Instantly I thought of you, so intensely that I said aloud what was no longer a question but a fact already: “Molly?”

His head nodded so sadly that it seemed to move in slow motion. “She’s in a coma.”

I raised a hand to interrupt him.

I didn’t want an explanation. I didn’t want to hear anything, understand anything, discuss anything. I opened the door to the bedroom and carefully closed it behind me.

Alone. I needed to be alone to face the din roaring in my head. It was as if a thousand people had connected to my brain to scramble its data and keep me from thinking.

[…]

Images of you passed before my eyes. Dancing with our eyes shut while singing Tina Turner in your kitchen. Trying on every single pair of sunglasses at a shop in the gare de Lyon, without buying any. Disguised as a blonde for a costume party. Wolfing down a hot dog on a London street last week. At the airport, five days ago, buying a carton of cigarettes. Your willowy figure dragging the too-heavy suitcase you hadn’t wanted to check. Your violet-scented perfume when you kissed me good-bye. Your smile when you came back to shout to me, “Bon voyage!” Your voice hoarse. Mocking. Inimitable.

I didn’t know I could produce so many tears.


“There are interesting themes of friendship and guilt in this slim volume. Halberstadt’s approach ultimately reveals that friendships are mirrors, and when bonds break, we have to reckon with sides of ourselves we may not like.” —Publishers Weekly

Mon amie américaine’s dark conclusion is astonishing in its honesty.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An honest look at the many feelings an individual goes through as they watch someone they love struggle to stay alive…an interesting take on a sad but true aspect of life.” New York Daily News

“This novel about friendship is everything a friend should be—tender, wise, dogged and unflinching. Halberstadt writes without affectation, but with considerable ambition, laying bare the limits of our loyalties, even to our better selves. This is a marvel of a book.” —Robin Kirman, author of Bradstreet Gate 

“In Mon amie américaine, Halberstadt delves into the intimacies of friendship between women, and sensitively and brilliantly explores the fault lines inherent in all relationships.” —Peter Nichols, author of The Rocks