If I Knew You Were Going to Be This Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let You Go

It is the summer of 1972, and Katie has just turned eighteen. Katie and her town, Elephant Beach, are both on the verge: Katie of adulthood, and Elephant Beach of gentrification. But not yet: Elephant Beach is still gritty, working-class, close-knit. And Katie spends her time smoking and drinking with her friends, dreaming about a boy just back from Vietnam who’s still fighting a battle Katie can’t understand.

In this poignant, evocative debut collection, Judy Chicurel creates a haunting, vivid world, where conflicts between mothers and daughters, men and women, soldiers and civilians and haves and have-nots reverberate to our own time. She captures not only a time and place, but the universal experience of being poised between the past and the future. At once heartbreaking, mesmerizing, and nostalgic, Chicurel shows us that no matter how beautiful some dreams are, there comes a time when we must let them go.

Meet the Author

JUDY CHICUREL’s work has appeared in national, regional, and international publications, including The New York TimesNewsday, and Granta. Her plays have been produced and performed in Manhattan. Chicurel currently lives by the water in Brooklyn.

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