Books by Catherine Hiller

JUST SAY YES by Catherine Hiller
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 20, 2015

"Likely to loosen up fellow smokers while adding a personal take to the public discussion of cannabis culture."
Filtering her experiences through the lens of her longtime use of cannabis, Hiller (The Adventures of Sid Sawyer, 2013) delves into her personal life for this "Marijuana Memoir." Read full book review >
SKIN by Catherine Hiller
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 1997

The thirteen ``sensual tales'' (some previously published) in this first collection by novelist Hiller (17 Morton Street, 1990, etc.), extolling the virtues of seduction and fantasy, in fact range from the insightfully erotic to straight porn. The title story is among the best, a short, sharp dissection of one family's attitude toward the (supposedly erotic) mole above Muriel's lip; equally engaging is ``Yearning at Yaddo,'' in which a mother of two goes to the Yaddo artists' colony ``to start a new novel and have an affair'' but finds herself isolated by her status as a mom and forced more deeply into her writing. The notion of yearning also surfaces powerfully in ``My Lover's Family'' as a mistress attempts to explain her complex feelings about her role. Unfortunately, though, the more conventional side of these tales is more prevalent, exemplified most damningly in ``Final Assignment'' and ``The February Fantasy,'' both of which are driven by the hackneyed dynamic of an affair between student and writing professor, and more quaintly in ``Bad Sex,'' in which a woman's method of ending an affair, because her lover wants to marry someone else, is to insist he do things she doesn't like—things that only drive him mad with desire for her. Somewhere in between is ``Piazza del Popolo,'' in which a young mother returns with her family to the scene of a Roman orgy she'd had a decade before, and discovers that she is at last able to deal with her remembered feelings of shame and arousal. As tends to be the case with erotica that lacks writing with a life of its own, the tales here are flattened by repetition in technique and content, relieved occasionally by the odd fine moment showing that Hiller is capable of much more than is shown here. Read full book review >
CALIFORNIA TIME by Catherine Hiller
Released: Nov. 16, 1993

Inconsequential—and disappointing—second urban tale by Hiller (Morton Street, 1990), this revolving solely around the issue of whether it's better to love Manhattan or leave it. Laurie Simon is a native New Yorker, and as a book editor with a Greenwich Village apartment, two kids attending her own childhood public schools, and a cameraman/director husband, Michael, who adores her, Laurie feels she's living the good life in her hometown. The rub lies with Michael, who longs to try his luck in California by opening a production company there. His resentment at instead having to pass his years in hateful Manhattan has resulted in a constant, low-grade fury—and that anger has in turn translated into a chronic physical pain for Laurie that the couple refer to familiarly as her ``thing.'' When the pressure from Michael finally proves too much, Laurie gives up her job, sublets the apartment, and transports the family to Santa Monica. Laurie is not surprised at the homogenized strangeness of the West Coast, but she is taken aback as her chronic pain begins to fade with California-style therapy, and as a house with a pool turns out to be a pleasure to have around. The Simons begin to believe they might actually be happy—until teenaged son Andy flees back to his girlfriend in New York and an earthquake knocks a tree into the Simons' rented living room. Chastened, they follow Andy back east, where they find, to Laurie's relief, that the suburbs of Westchester offer the best of both worlds. Creating a procession of mundane problems for her characters, only to solve them before each chapter's end (Laurie's afraid to drive, but then she adapts; subletting the New York apartment might prove difficult, but instead proceeds without a hitch, etc.), Hiller fails to engage the reader emotionally or provide any kind of dramatic or comedic climax. A particularly cruel letdown, then, after such an entertaining debut. Read full book review >