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Excerpt: ‘The Red Car’ by Marcy Dermansky

Marcy Dermansky | Longreads | October 25, 2016 | 2,933 words

“The car had upset me. Judy had found a parking space right in front of the restaurant and I could see the red car from our table. Taunting me.”

Posted inBooks, Featured, Fiction, Story

Excerpt: ‘The Red Car’ by Marcy Dermansky

“The car had upset me. Judy had found a parking space right in front of the restaurant and I could see the red car from our table. Taunting me.”
Red Car Watercolor by Marcy Dermansky

Marcy Dermansky | Excerpt | October 2016 | 12 minutes (2,933 words)

In The Red Car, Marcy Dermansky’s newly released third novel, 33-year-old Leah Kaplan is lured away from an ill-considered marriage and taken on a surprise hero’s journey.

With deadpan humor, in dreamlike, Murakami-inspired unvarnished prose, Dermansky tells the story of Leah’s adventures after a former boss dies and bequeaths to her the red sports car Leah never liked in the first place.

This curious inheritance, and her boss’s funeral, leads the Queens-dweller back to San Francisco, where she’d worked and lived just after college. There, Leah gets to back up in reverse to relive a bit of her youth, and to reconsider her life choices from a better informed perspective before moving forward into a more intentionally designed adulthood.

Can a novel about a 33-year-old woman qualify as a coming-of-age story? When she was interviewed by Steph Opitz at Kirkus Reviews, Dermansky argued in favor of that possibility.

“Maybe coming of age is happening a bit later,” she said. “Maybe people find themselves a bit later. It’s funny because you’re not supposed to come of age in your 30s, but maybe people are allowed to keep reinventing themselves. Maybe it doesn’t stop.”

As a 51-year-old late bloomer I’m encouraged by that idea. And it supports a hunch of mine: that the older women are—the more entrenched patriarchy was when they were growing up—the longer they might need to be allowed to arrive at true self-actualization. Here is Dermansky’s excerpt.

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