The paperback of "The Girl in the Blue Beret" is now available in stores and online. Order online by clicking the title in the left column. Go to the Blue Beret tab to read more about the book (and see photos of friends in berets)..
Read the review of "The Girl in the Blue Beret" in the Washington Post.
�Ushering her readers back and forth across the decades, [Bobbie Ann Mason] perfectly weaves history with fiction. . . . In many ways, the book is a tribute to these unsung civilians whose heroism often was never acknowledged by those they helped. . . . [A] near- perfect war story.�
�[This book] will send you dashing to the shelves to devour every- thing else [Mason�s] ever written�it�s that good. . . . A spellbinding tale of war, love and survival [that] alternates seamlessly between World War II and modern Europe . . . Mason�s writing is exquisite. Not a single word is wasted or out of place, and she never drifts toward sentimentality. . . . Not only a remarkable work of historical fiction, it�s also storytelling at its best.� �Associated Press
�Mason�s lovely tale . . . will resonate for many.�
�Mason has given us a portrait of a man from a generation whose members were uncertain about the protocols of letting oneself feel. And she has lovingly captured the tone of bluff assertion still shared by veterans of that war. . . . The Girl in the Blue Beret is a work of remarkable empathy.�
�The New York Times Book Review
�Bobbie Ann Mason has long been considered one of the finest writ- ers of regional fiction�Kentucky is her home and inspiration�but her affecting new novel takes place in France, and she�s just as comfortable and insightful there. . . . A story that�s luxuriously contemplative, sustained by the depth of Mason�s sympathy . . . What a stirring tribute to the Resistance this novel is. . . . Once again, Mason has plumbed the moral dimensions of national conflict in the lives of individual participants and produced a deeply moving, relevant novel.�
�The Washington Post
�Bobbie Ann Mason raises bracing questions about the subjectivity of memory and history [and] nimbly navigates between the stirring past and the suspenseful present.�
�The Boston Globe
�A compelling tale . . . a page-turner, filled with sudden reverses and narrow escapes. It is also an act of remembrance and a tribute.�
�A richly told tale that gives its main character a chance to relearn what it means to be a hero.�
�The Christian Science Monitor
�Renowned American author [Mason] based this haunting novel on her late father-in-law�s wartime experiences, and the rich setting, detail, and intimate character nuances ring true. . . . Highly recommended.�
�[Conveys], in heartbreaking detail, the suffering of the Parisians and the high cost they paid for freedom. In her fifth novel, the talented Mason offers an emotionally powerful story of the ruinous effects of war.�
�A fabulous tale . . . Mason�s subtle, gorgeous prose keeps us capti- vated. . . . You occasionally pause to marvel at how real her fictional world seems. . . . Mason can say quite a bit about America just by telling one man�s tale.�
�[An] impressive, impassioned new novel . . . The unforgettable story [is] a gripping tale of redemption. . . . Spellbinding and emotional . . . richly crafted.�
�The Miami Herald
�This is a book about then and now, told both in the present and in the past through memories, flashbacks and anecdotes related by characters. This sort of dual timeline has rarely been done as well as Mason does it here. The structure of this book is flawless. . . . It�s a masterful achievement. . . . Mason�s writing is, as always, rendered in the clear, smooth voice of a natural storyteller. . . . Just another one of the pleasures of reading this very high quality literary work.�
�Baton Rouge Advocate
�Mason writes with empathy and rich language, transforming what might have been a midlife crisis into a middle-aged re-evaluation of life that is full of promise for the future.�
�Sacramento News & Review
�Mason�s storytelling manages to juggle two contrasting realities, to rich effect. . . . Mason leads us skillfully from the young, would-be hotshot, who doesn�t look back, to the shut-down older man. . . . She treats her characters kindly, even if time and the world have not.�
�The Philadelphia Inquirer
�Ms. Mason has crafted a novel of reconciliation with the past. . . . The Girl in the Blue Beret is a work not to be missed; its audience is universal.�
�The Washington Times
�Richly detailed and insightful . . . [Mason�s] work is never what it simply appears to be on the surface. . . . The subtle intricacies begin way below the visible layer. . . . The Girl in the Blue Beret draws the reader in. . . . So compelling that you might find yourself wishing it had gone on for another hundred pages.�
�The Broadkill Review
�Well worth reading, exposing a subject that stresses the goodness of humanity, of man serving his fellow man despite chilling con- sequences.�
�There�s something for everyone in The Girl in the Blue Beret. It�s part mystery, part quest, part love story, and part nostalgia trip. All the parts are powerful and contribute to an even superior whole.�
�The Manhattan Mercury
�Mason tells the story of a group often overlooked: the French Resistance. . . . The book feels very real. . . . Not everyone re- members things identically, not every hero is perfect, not everyone enjoyed a �happily ever after.� . . . A must-read for World War II enthusiasts.�
�San Francisco Book Review
�Bobbie Ann Mason just keeps outdistancing herself. The Girl in the Blue Beret has everything: adventure, intrigue, fear, sorrow, nostalgic ache, regret, romance, and most importantly, love. She writes of the platonic love of one�s fellow travelers, along with romantic love�and what a beautiful love story it is, told with grace and elegance from the point of view of a narrator you won�t soon forget. I loved this book, and so will you.�
�Richard Bausch, author of Something is Out There and Peace; winner of the PEN/ Malamud Award for Short Fiction
"A flight through the gripping, war-ravaged past and the discovery of love�Bobbie Ann Mason's�moving novel is written with great clarity and insight."
�Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper�s Daughter and The Lake of Dreams
�An elegant and eventually lovely story of war, need and apprehension.�
�Roy Blount Jr., author of Alphabetter Juice and Long Time Leaving
Photo by Jenny Lederer
Photo by LaNelle Mason
Bobbie Ann Mason was raised on her family�s dairy farm in western Kentucky. She became interested in writing as a child, when she wrote imitations of the mystery series novels she read. She was inspired by Louisa May Alcott�s "Little Women," but it wasn�t until college that she discovered other writers, especially the fiction of Hemingway, Salinger, and Fitzgerald.
She earned her B.A. in English at the University of Kentucky in 1962, her M.A. at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1966, and her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut in 1972. Although her dissertation on Vladimir Nabokov was published (Ardis, 1974), teaching jobs were scarce in the seventies. Thus, she was able to focus on writing fiction while teaching journalism part-time.
Her first short stories were published in The New Yorker, during the 1980s renaissance of the short story, when writers such as Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, and Tobias Wolff came to prominence. Mason's first book of fiction, "Shiloh & Other Stories," (1982) won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was nominated for the American Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She received an Arts and Letters Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The title story, "Shiloh," about a disabled trucker whose wife is not used to having him at home, has been widely anthologized in college textbooks. The couple's trip to the Civil War battleground of Shiloh began for Mason a recurring preoccupation with the theme of war.
Her first novel, "In Country," (1985) is taught widely in classes and was made into a Norman Jewison film starring Bruce Willis and Emily Lloyd. It is about a teenager whose father died in Vietnam before she was born. She is coming of age, now desperate to know more about her father.
Mason's newest novel, "The Girl in the Blue Beret," ventures into World War II and the ways it is remembered. Marshall Stone, a former bomber pilot, returns to France in 1980 and tries to recapture his younger self.
Mason's memoir, "Clear Springs," about an American farm family throughout the twentieth century, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her book of linked stories, "Nancy Culpepper," is inspired by this family, and she says that while the circumstances are different, this is the work of fiction most closely identified with her own life and sensibility.
She is former writer-in-residence at the University of Kentucky.
Finalist for Pulitzer Prize for the memoir, "Clear Springs"
Arts and Letters Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters
"Shiloh and Other Stories," PEN Hemingway Award for first fiction. Nominated for the PEN Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the American Book Award. "Shiloh" was published in 1982.
Kentucky Book Award for The Girl in the Blue Beret" (2012) and "Elvis Presley" (2004)
Southern Book Critics Circle Award for "Feather Crowns"and "Zigzagging Down a Wild Trail"
National Endowment for the Arts grant
Fellowship of Southern Writers
Photo by LaNelle Mason