Olive Higgins Prouty
The captivating novel that inspired the Bette Davis 1943 cult classic film.
Afterword by Judith Mayne
“Don’t let’s ask for the moon! We have the stars!” The film that concludes with Bette Davis’s famous words, reaffirmed Davis’s own stardom and changed the way Americans smoked cigarettes. But few contemporary fans of this story of a woman’s self-realization know its source. Olive Higgins Prouty’s 1941 novel Now, Voyager provides an even richer, deeper portrait of the inner life of its protagonist and the society she inhabits. Viewed from a distance of more than sixty years, it also offers fresh and quietly radical takes on psychiatric treatment, traditional family life, female desire, and women’s agency.
Boston blueblood Charlotte Vale has led an unhappy, sheltered life. Dowdy, repressed, and pushing forty, Charlotte finds salvation in the unlikely form of a nervous breakdown, placing her at a sanitarium, where she undergoes treatment to rebuild her ravaged self-esteem and uncover her true intelligence and charm.
Femmes Fatales restores to print the best of women’s writing in the classic pulp genres of the mid-twentieth century. From mystery to hard-boiled noir to taboo lesbian romance, these rediscovered queens of pulp offer subversive perspectives on a turbulent era.
"Like the film it inspired, Olive Higgins Prouty's Now, Voyager is as striking for the conventions it bucks as for the ones it embraces: a vivid reminder of a time when people crossed the ocean in liners and wore hats, and a hymn to an American ideal of social, moral, and emotional independence." —David Leavitt, author of Equal Affections
"At last we have the moon and the stars: at last, that is, the public can read a novel on which one of Hollywood's most stirring melodramas is based. The movie Now, Voyager, a love story as well as a film about mothers and daughters, has fascinated female, feminist, and even—despite its heated heterosexual romance—lesbian and gay viewers and critics. The novel promises to enhance our pleasurable perplexity about the film's many enigmas concerning the nature of women's most passionate attachments." —Tania Modleski, author of Loving With a Vengeance
"What a satisfying book. At once tough-minded and terribly romantic, it sweeps us up in an ageless tale of love while foreshadowing today's notions of sexual liberation, emotional wholeness, and personal independence. Prouty is a wonderful writer, and her Charlotte Vale a timeless and very sophisticated Cinderella." —Patricia Gaffney, author of The Saving Graces