This short fiction collection contains stories that appeared in the 1960s and 1970s, including a series of tales about a New York couple that lasts through 2020—in a new story of their ordeal during the coronavirus pandemic.
... luminous ... capacity for self-reflection marks many of the smart, hungry and astoundingly funny women in these stories ... Paulette is a delightful and complex narrator, equal parts witty and sad ... haunting, deliberative, utterly convincing prose ... this is a stunning and memorable collection.
... the stories in Today A Woman Went Mad shine as brightly, cut as deeply and entertain as deliciously as if they’d been written today ... Wolitzer’s gifts for capturing time and character are on fine display in the title story ... Each of these stories is like a circus clown car, stuffed with more meaning than Wolitzer’s deceptively simple sentences seem able to contain ... the collection ends with 'The Great Escape,' a ferocious COVID-19 story that could only have been written in the hideous year of 2020.
Wolitzer has a gentle touch for conveying the nuances and humor to be found in small moments of intrigue ... Many of these stories were published in the ’60s and ’70s...and are rather concrete in plot, traditional in style. By the time Paulette and Howard have reached their 60s, in 'The Great Escape,' written in 2020, Wolitzer has moved into a more lyrical, abstract and fragmentary present ... Common themes connect the other stories to these linked ones: absent fathers, infidelity, a trembling line between the hyper-sanity of daily ritual and the tilt into madness. However, some of the book’s charm is lost in the gaps between Paulette and Howard’s story line. Throughout these dispatches from the American homefront, the family unit is formed, broken, pasted back together, mused over—but always serves as the anchor for Wolitzer’s narratives ... Intrigue may lead a story, but for Wolitzer the daily rituals of family always carry it.