Mona Simpson Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Mona Simpson’s first novel, Anywhere but Here (1986), explores the complex relationship between mother and daughter. Her second novel, The Lost Father (1991), continues the story as Mayan Stevenson searches for her missing father. In A Regular Guy (1996) Simpson examines the relationship between a geneticist-tycoon and the illegitimate daughter he abandoned.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Mona Simpson’s short stories have been selected for Twenty Under Thirty and the annual The Best American Short Stories. She was chosen as one of Granta‘s Best Young American Novelists. In 1986 she received a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant and a $25,000 award from the Whiting Foundation. In 1988 she won a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and Hodder fellowship, Princeton.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bing, Jonathan, “Mona Simpson: Return of the Prodigal Father.” Publishers Weekly, 243 (November 4, 1996): 50. Notes that Simpson’s three novels all center on daughters neglected by incompetent parents. In the interview, Simpson says that she considers herself a minimalist and cites Raymond Carver as a writer who has influenced her work. In speaking of her own parents, Simpson says that the feelings and themes in The Lost Father were close to her life, but not the details.

Graham, Judith, ed. “Mona Simpson.” In Current Biography Yearbook. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1993. Provides biographical information about Simpson’s family life, education, and early career. Includes brief synopses of her novels, Anywhere but Here and The Lost Father. Describes her work as marked by striking imagery and shrewd insights into family relationships. Although much of her work seems drawn from her family history, Simpson is quoted as denying that her writing is autobiographical: “It’s definitely not a memoir.”

Heller, Dana. “Shifting Gears: Transmission and Flight in Mona Simpson’s Anywhere but Here.” University of Hartford Studies in Literature 21 (1989). A creative reading of Ann’s and Adele’s desire for each other’s love versus an equally strong need for independence. Heller argues that the...

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