Sunday, July 17, 2016


California writer Carolyn See passed away this week. She was the author of seven novels, one memoir, and one of my favorite books about writing. Lisa See is her daughter. I remember seeing them together on a panel at the Los Angeles Festival of Books. They were quite a pair.

Carolyn See had a wry and dry sense of humor about life, marriage, family, and being female. If you came of age in the 60s like I did, her novels will bring it all back: the feminism, the politics, the substances. If you have lived any part of your life in California or especially Los Angeles, you will feel right at home in her works.

The Novels:
The Rest is Done With Mirrors 1970: This was the first one I read.
Mothers, Daughters 1977: This was the second.
Rhine Maidens 1981
Golden Days 1986
Making History 1991
The Handyman 1999
There Will Never Be Another You 2006: I read this as soon as it came out and saw her at an author event at the now defunct Dutton's Books. She really knew how to give a reading.
The Memoir:
Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America 1995: I think I will read this in honor of the life she just completed. Then I will read the rest of the novels before the year is out.
The Book on Writing:
Making A Literary Life 2002: So many things I learned from this book and still do to this day.
So long Carolyn. Thanks for the lulz!


  1. lulz=new word for me, a good one.

    I don't think I've heard of Carolyn See, but I must check her out.

    1. Always happy to increase my friends' vocabularies:-)

  2. Thanks Judy for this great tribute. For many years Carolyn wrote book reviews at The Washington Post where I worked and I read her avidly. She was a treasure! I trusted her reviews. When I heard she passed away, I was very sad that the world had lost a great wordsmith, writer, and thinker. A co-worker of mine said Carolyn had been a great teacher and mentor to her at UCLA. I think she was a great mentor to people in general. Ugh what a terrible loss to have her gone. I still miss her reviews.

    1. How cool that you were connected at the Post! I also read and trusted her reviews. She did not deal in any BS. She said what she thought. Truly a treasure and possibly not recognized enough. I always thought she was so proud to have raised a novelist.

    2. Yeah I wish I had met her or gotten to know Carolyn but she wrote her reviews from California and just sent them in - so I never spoke to her, but I sure liked her book reviews!

  3. I've never heard of her, but thanks to you, I read her daughter's book "China Dolls"

    1. That's right! How interesting the way things go when we share about books.