Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound


Includes an all new introduction by the author

Nadine Pagan’s dyke sister Jane wants to find her. Her lover Rose wants to marry her. And her mother Fay wants to forget her. All Nadine wants is to stop the buzzing in her head.

Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound follows Nadine’s (née Morningstar) adventures as she escapes from her incendiary Jewish family into the lesbian town of New Chelm—and far beyond. This is the novel Isaac Bashevis Singer might have written if he’d been a lesbian with a keen eye for contemporary middle-class assimilation. It’s Jewish magical lesbian realism, a good story, and a dynamic piece of writing.


2017 (25th Anniversary edition), Bywater Books


“This eclectic first novel about a Jewish family with three daughters unfolds through the female voices of the family; even the much-maligned mother is given the chance to speak and defend herself. Most of the plot concerns two of the sisters: Nadine, a troubled violin player, who has been estranged from her family since the Friday evening she set her hair on fire; and Jane, who is torn between her political identity as a lesbian and her family identity as a “good daughter”—a conflict that comes to a head as she prepares to be maid of honor in the wedding of the third sister, Electa. Nadine and Jane’s accidental meeting in New Chelm, the lesbian Jewish community in which they both reside, is the beginning of a series of events that eventually lead the sisters back to their family. A number of surprising and hugely comical turns keeps the story moving.”

Publisher’s Weekly (Full review)

“Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound makes lesbian lives visible in a Jewish world where families struggle with feminism and lesbianism together.”

Julie R. Enszer, editor of Sinister Wisdom, Fig Tree Books Blog (full review)

“What a gift to the world—this modern classic blend of magic-realism, Jewish fable, and lesbian drama is every bit as powerful today as I remember. Give yourself a treat already—read this!” 

— Elana Dykewomon, author of Beyond the Pale

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