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Listen to the interview with author Judy Sandra at Elemental Musings here.
During the dreary month of March in Copenhagen in the early 1970s, a 25‑year‑old American woman travels on a solitary quest to become, in her mind, a “woman‑of‑the‑world.” In fact, she is lost, adrift, dislocated, not only from familiar surroundings but from her innermost being: “It was the era of rising feminist consciousness, but my mind had not yet caught up to my age, and my consciousness was not the part of me that was rising up that winter.” The memoir-like narrative of The Metal Girl is told by the mature woman who looks back on her younger, more naive self. Describing a timeless and highly personal milieu, she tells her story with intimate candor as it unfolds in a lyrical, ironic and insightful voice. On her travels across Copenhagen to discover “life experiences”, she meets an ensemble of memorable and somewhat eccentric new acquaintances. Her journey through these relationships climaxes late one night when she discovers the raison d’être of everyone else and, even more surprising, the disillusioning truth about herself.
About the Author
Judy Sandra is a novelist, journalist, blogger and screenwriter. Her first short stories won her a prestigious “waitership” scholarship to the venerable Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. As a blogger, she writes about communications and culture at JS Media Blog. She earned her M.A. in fiction from The City College, CUNY, where she wrote a novel as her thesis. The Metal Girl, her second novel, was released in 2010 by JSM Books. She has recently adapted the novel into the screenplay Metal Girl (see about the film project here).
See Debra Eckerling’s Author Q & A at WriteOnOnline.com with author Judy Sandra about The Metal Girl, her writing process, and how the Unitarian minister discovered a copy of the manuscript in the basement of the Brooklyn house church.
Praise For The Metal Girl…
“The Metal Girl is an intriguing story, simply told, about a young woman’s wandering in a foreign country at an age (and in an era) when every meeting or confrontation was a clue to piecing together the essential self. The book is strikingly different from much of the other memoir/fiction I’ve read in that there’s not a single false note, not a moment of empty showmanship, self-mythologizing, or gratuitous sexuality. I notice after, not during, the writer’s command of language, how skilled she is at drawing me through Copenhagen, seeing it through the young woman’s eyes as I ache for her dilemmas. I think its pleasure lies in this character’s exploration of truths about human nature that are not just personal, but universal. Her internal life blossoms within me as I read it.”
–Jeanne Dickey, Fiction Author
“Sandra gives a matter-of-fact portrayal of a twenty-something woman on the cusp of realizing who she is. Her observations of the locale and the locals are so hyper-real that it feels you may be able to reach out and touch the metal girl, like the protagonist, feel the coldness of the unknown. Sandra weaves the feeling of loneliness in each personal interaction. This is a short novel but Sandra’s writing easily entices the reader to come in from the cold and stay a while.”
“As the story progresses, we have meals, and drinking, and polite surface conversations. There is no wild sex, no grand epiphanies, and no finding one’s soul mate; it’s just a bunch of people struggling through everyday life trying to make and keep meaningful connections. It’s the ordinariness that’s important here. The main character’s experiences are real, conflicted, and so significantly insignificant. One thing is certain, nothing is as it seems; even the banality is a lie. When reading this story, it’s much more about what she doesn’t do and doesn’t say than about what she does. I thought it was an honest story and very realistic. The story is very subtle, and I would liken it in style to Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, where the reader has to infer much of the meaning. The Metal Girl was a book I put down with an “I wonder” still left on the tip of my tongue.”
–Cheryl Anne Gardner, POD People Blog
“I found myself enthralled in this powerful novel about a young woman’s inner and outer journey. The Metal Girl is a magical voyage through the geography of psyche and soul. I was struck by the beauty of the language, the candor and power of the narrator’s journey, and the eternal theme of a wandering artist in a foreign land.”
–Rev. Thomas N. Martinez, All Souls Bethlehem Church, Brooklyn, NY
“The Metal Girl is told from the perspective of an unnamed adventurer (not tourist). Though it is short, the story sucks the reader in and feels like a much longer novel than it really is, putting one into the shoes of the narrator easily. What struck me is that this woman could be anyone, and I think that that was entirely the purpose of the nameless character. It was as though Ms. Sandra took a simple snapshot of a few days of an American woman and framed it for us to see and relate to. No, the woman did not have a startling revelation that made her find the man of her dreams and live happily ever after. Then again, how often does pretty closure happen in real life? If Ms. Sandra’s goal was to simply expose a sliver of a struggling young woman’s life, she succeeded, and vibrantly. If not, well, she certainly wrote a fantastic novel.”
–Bethany Nicholls, Graduate Student, Library Science
“Judy Sandra has done a wonderful job with The Metal Girl. From the locations to the character descriptions, you can clearly envision the beautiful scenery and the crazy characters that are encountered along the way. As a reader, you feel that you are traveling along with her on a journey of reflection and self-discovery. It is beautifully written and an easy read.”
–Virginia Hill, Los Angeles