He Goes, She Goes

A novel published by Crown in December 2001

Read an excerpt from the novel

Acclaim for He Goes, She Goes

"Those who enjoyed Hungry, Torrey's 1998 collection of stories, will be pleased to discover that she is just as skilled a novelist as a short story writer...Alice's self-deprecating black humor and earnest exploration of her troubled life make her a spunky heroine. Her conflicting feelings about relationships (with others and herself) will resound with readers who have lost a loved one. With surefooted writing and sensitive characterization, Torrey choreographs a graceful, heartfelt drama."

- Publishers Weekly

"Joanna Torrey takes a formulaic plot device, the death of an emotionally distant parent, and takes it for a spin...the darkly comic story is secondary to the portrait of Alice herself. Torrey gives her a voice that is often bluntly hilarious and peppers the book with trenchant one-liners. Forget the metaphorical salsa moves. Alice survives - and the book succeeds - because of the power of so many old-fashioned punch lines."

- The New York Times Book Review

"Joanna Torrey's He Goes, She Goes opens with a starkly poignant deathbed scene, then recounts the eye-opening subsequent experiences of Alice, who finds herself voyaging, with her sister and their mother, into a world of unexpected romance, sensual abandon, and new family alliances."

- Elle recommends...

"Torrey writes of emotions stripped bare with a prose that effectively tells a story while leaving readers plenty of room to embellish with their own experiences."

- Library Journal

"Torrey's writing is as smooth as a mambo as she navigates the geography of loss and love, wine and sex, men and women, and, of course, dance."

- The Providence Journal, Ann Hood, author of Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine and Ruby

"With a careful attention to sensual detail, and an ear for the nuanced language loved ones use to engage and avoid one another, Joanna Torrey is wonderfully alert to the complex rhythms of loss and longing. He Goes, She Goes is a distinctive, compelling novel, told in a melancholy voice lightened by moments of lovely dry humor."

- Sylvia Brownrigg, author of Pages for You and The Metaphysical Touch

"Joanna Torrey has written a poignant story of loss and redemption through dance. It is a story of the limitations of love and family and how we are able to go on after we have been disappointed, tamped down. How in a sense we are able to dance again, one step at a time. In her witty, gentle way Torrey have given us a novel of hope."

- Mary Morris, author of Acts of God

"Joanna Torrey executes the complex dance of sisterhood in surprising ways. Her quiet, sensuous prose is a pleasure, her observant eye wonderfully startling."

- Rilla Askew, author of Fire in Beulah and The Mercy Seat

From Crown jacket copy for He Goes, She Goes

Mournful but strangely liberated following the death of her father, Alice leaves her mother and sister behind in New England. Returning to New York, she finds herself suddenly impatient with her old life, her numbing office job, and her self-absorbed journalist boyfriend, Jack.

Alice plunges headlong into the world of ballroom dance, a forbidden pleasure in her repressed father's eyes, and surrenders to the sweet oblivion of mambo in the arms of her dance teacher, Carlos. But when she learns that her mother and sister have embarked on their own separate journeys of discovery, she is drawn inexorably back home. Sex, wine, and dance are the siren songs that lure each woman to explore the sensual pleasures forbidden by the man who can no longer dictate their lives.

He Goes, She Goes is a novel about the power of family secrets, revealing the circuitous, unexpected route that healing can take as one revisits the past and changes the emotional landscape of the future.


A collection of six stories and a novella, published by Crown in February 1998

Read the title story

Read an excerpt from the novella

Acclaim for Hungry

"The six stories and one novella in this debut collection are sharply accurate slices of urban life...With a wicked wit, Torrey has laced these vignettes together with common talismans - answering machines and vibrators, gym bags and litigation bags, breaded fried food and $6.99 chardonnay. Readers will undoubtedly recognize the characters that Torrey places under a clear and merciless microscope."

- Publishers Weekly

"This aptly titled story collection is a mouth watering treat...[an] impressive debut."

- Entertainment Weekly

"Hungry is all about appetites - psychological, emotional, culinary, and especially sexual...Needless to say, it's not always easy to keep them separate...This hunger artist is smart enough to know that unrequited desire is only half the problem, the other half being what happens when your desires are actually fulfilled."

- Book Forum

"Joanna Torrey writes about the ultra-mundane and makes it startling. Her voice is blunt, weirdly innocent, and very enjoyable."

- Mary Gaitskill, author of Bad Behavior and Because They Wanted To

"Joanna Torrey's fiction is provocative and edgy. Her stories are as urgently and insistently female as novels by Nicholson Baker or John Updike are relentlessly male. This is writing that balances the authenticity of the present with the timeless authority of literary craft. Hungry characters keep us surprised and convinced."

- Katharine Weber, author of Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

"Joanna Torrey is an incredibly precise writer, and these stories are deeply moving and disturbing in the way that only truth can be."

- Olivia Goldsmith, author of The First Wives Club

From Crown jacket copy for Hungry

This collection of six short stories and a novella, in a style subversively honest and shamelessly sexy, explores the many aspects of female hunger - sexual, psychic, material, and gastronomic.

Joanna Torrey's fiction boldly uncovers female voraciousness in all the places it lurks - inside a secretary's bottom desk drawer; in a cubicle in the ladies' room at a high-powered law firm; on the StairMaster late at night at the local health club; in the seductive prison of a Jeep in a suburban grocery store parking lot. In these stories loneliness and alienation are prerequisites to self-discovery, and hunger is primal in its force, yet utterly modern in its accoutrements: vibrators, video porn, car phones, freshly ground coffee, g-strings, and a fine set of chef's knives.

In prose spare, sharp, and slyly hilarious, these stories bring news of the way struggling women connect and disconnect in the big city: a secretary who finally dares the ultimate insubordinate gesture; a woman who can't choose between her culinarily sophisticated date and her meat-and-potatoes proletarian lover; a relationship that founds on a mutual addiction to sex toys.

Hungry is a delicious literary banquet, served with wit and panache.