Author: Maureen Brady
Publisher: Bacon Press Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
After stabbing her abusive husband and leaving him dying on the kitchen floor, Cookie Wagner flees to remote Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. For a moment, she seems to have gotten away with murder. But, consigned to a secretive life with a new name and the need to be on constant alert, she faces all she has not gotten away with. She is helped by the recently widowed Mrs. Biddle, who offers her a place to stay, and the lobster fisherman Butch, who gives her a job and later falls in love with her. Walking the cliffs and beaches, taking in the scruffy windblown plants that survive the buffeting wind by growing at an angle, she begins to heal.
Yet, there is no leaving behind the notion that Warren is dead as the result of her action.
Or is he? And if not, will he one day come to find her?
Sexual harassment and abuse are all over the news these days, often involving celebrites and other well-known figures, but Cookie, the protagonist of Getaway, is no celebrity. She’s an ordinary woman married to a working class guy who drinks too much and resorts to violence. Their story reveals how endemic the phenomenon of abuse is, and the quandary Cookie lands in when she fights back.
Praise for Getaway:
“Sensitive, sensual, and stirring. “Getaway” is a true page-turner, but one with heart and with context. I couldn’t put it down until I got to the end, not just to find out what happened, but also to discover who these intriguing and complex characters would develop into. An extremely satisfying read!”
Danielle Ofri, author of What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear, Editor-in-Chief, Bellevue Literary Review.
Getaway is available at Amazon.
Cookie dove between the tall grasses, jarred with adrenalin. In the gloom, she could barely make out the blue cottage on the other side of the lake, but her eyes clung to it desperately. It was up for sale and she thought, unoccupied. Maybe if she bushwhacked around the lake and found her way there without being seen, she’d be able to hide behind it.
The air sparkled. Everything around her seemed to vibrate with too much life. When a bullfrog glugged in the reeds, she jumped, stood still, then made herself get moving again. This was no time to try to understand what she had done.
She inched along the shoreline, her feet sinking into the mud.
Her foot slipped off a root and twisted painfully. Damn weak ankle, she muttered, working it before she pushed on.
A three-quarter moon came up to light the way a bit, but it was getting cold. She stopped to put on her windbreaker, the one thing she’d managed to grab from the hook by the door. A good thing she had, even though it was a bright aqua, too colorful for someone who wanted not to be seen.
Squatting, she buried her face in her hands. Her stomach roiled and she thought she might throw up. My God, Warren, why did you have to come after me like that?
She was struck by the sound of twigs breaking underfoot. A bear or a coyote? Someone coming after her? That got her moving again, making low, humming noises to keep whatever it was at bay.
When she finally came out to the clearing, she scooted through tall tufts of grass in front of the blue cottage and crept around back.
The building blocked the moonlight as she huddled against the cinderblock cellar wall, her arms wrapped around her legs, her feet wet and freezing. She stared into the night as the fireflies spit tiny patches of light before flickering out.
As she adjusted to the dark, she noticed a hump a few feet away, a rounded Bilco cellar door. She stood and lifted the handle.
Detecting a little give, she lifted again, hard, and one side came up. Three steps down, there was a wooden door. It, too, had been left unlocked, so the knob turned and she was in.
She sunk to the cellar floor and wrapped her windbreaker around her wet pant legs but couldn’t stop her teeth from chattering. Trying to still her jaw only made her whole arm shake. She remembered once as a child when her teeth had rattled on this way. It had been fear, not cold that time her father had raised his large square hand but stopped just short of slapping her across the face.
When she finally found the remains of a matchbook in her pocket, the first match she struck crumbled. She stood up and struck another. The light flared up shockingly fast and extinguished itself before she’d seen a thing. She caught a glimpse of a stairway, which she shuffled toward, hands out ahead of her, searching for a light switch.
In the flare of the last match, she spotted a worktable under the stairs. Patting along its surface, she touched something soft and squishy, almost like human skin. She jumped back, horrified.
Gathering her courage, she reached out again but she must have turned when she jumped back because, where the squishy thing had been, there was nothing, not even the bench. She made a quarter turn and reached out again. Still nothing! At least it wasn’t the squishy thing, but where the hell was she and what was that anyway?
About the Author
Though Maureen Brady wrote the humor column of her junior high school newspaper, she didn’t actually comprehend that she was a writer until after she had moved to New York City in her twenties, where she began taking writing workshops at The New School and then fell headlong into the consciousness raising groups of the early 1970’s.
She published her first novel, Give Me Your Good Ear, in 1979, and it was published by The Women’s Press in England in 1981. Her novel, Folly, was excerpted in Southern Exposure, received wide critical acclaim, was nominated by Adrienne Rich for an ALA Gay Book Award and was reprinted as a classic by The Feminist Press. She published a collection of short stories, The Question She Put to Herself, in 1987, then turned to writing nonfiction in the ’90’s, publishing Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Midlife: Meditations for Women. She returned to fiction with the novel, Ginger’s Fire, and her most recent novel, Getaway.
Her recent work has appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Bellevue Literary Review; Just Like A Girl; Cabbage and Bones: Irish American Women’s Fiction, Mom, In the Family, and Intersections: An Anthology of Banff Writers. Brady’s essays and stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and were finalists for the Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Prize and the Nelsen Algren Short Story contest.
An Adjunct Assistant Professor, she teaches creative writing at New York University and New York Writers Workshop @ the Jewish Community Center, and works as a free-lance editor and tutor, helping writers across the spectrum take their writing to the next stage.
A co-founder of Spinsters Ink, Brady edited such books as The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde and The Woman Who Breathes Fire by Kitty Tsui. She also served as a panelist for The New York State Council on the Arts Literature Program and as a fiction judge for Oregon Literary Arts. She is a founding member of The New York Writers Workshop and has long served as Board President of Money for Women Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.
She has received grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts Writer-in-Residence; New York State Council on the Arts CAPS grant; Holding Our Own; Briarcombe Foundation; and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship to The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland. She was the winner of the Saints and Sinners short story contest for 2015 and is also a Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame winner.
She lives in New York City and Woodstock with her long term partner, Martha, and their joy dog, Bessie.
Visit Maureen’s website at www.maureenbradyny.com.