Disappearing Ingenue


The Misadventures of Eleanor Stoddard


The ups and downs and turnarounds of a good girl who can’t help being bad no matter how hard she tries come hilariously to life in these disarming, utterly distinctive interrelated stories.

Eleanor Stoddard tries to lead an exemplary life, to pursue the high road, and better herself and the world, but somehow things keep going awry. In “Port de Bras,” even as Eleanor spends her summer reading about the Holocaust, her good intentions are disrupted by the discovery that her first best friend is a compulsive liar who has cried wolf too many times. “Salve Regina” wryly captures another ill-fated step on Eleanor’s journey toward goodness. When, much to her mother’s dismay, she dreams of becoming a nun and dutifully says her rosary in the bathroom at her first cotillion, Eleanor finds that she still can’t save a friend from the consequences of her first seduction. Her marriage brings no relief from the twists of fate–and her quirky attempts to deal with them: In “The Case of the Disappearing Ingenue,” Eleanor turns to Nancy Drew for help when she suspects that her husband may be cheating on her. In the Pushcart Prize—winning “Funktionslust,” the final story in this collection, Eleanor does get her childhood wish. . . but not exactly in the way she imagined. Traveling through Central America with a rescued laboratory gorilla, “Like a rogue saint, Eleanor Stoddard was sighted here and there, most often by the innocent.”

Disappearing Ingenue presents a heroine whose adventures with life and love are wildly imaginative.


“There is so much in Pritchard’s talent that amazes: her dazzling language, the constant surprise of her details, the keen eye for dishonesty and disappointment.”
The Chicago Tribune

“Pritchard’s writing is precise and lucid…sharp and funny.”
The New York Times

“Dreamy and delightful.”
-Alan Cheuse, “All Things Considered,” National Public Radio

“Pritchard has a sure touch. She knows just how much to tell, and how much readers should intuit….It’s risky to compare any other author to Steinbeck….but, just possibly, the potential is there.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Pritchard’s meticulously crafted prose bursts at its own seams with inventiveness.”
The Harvard Review

“Stories, like their heroine, so brave and full of life.”
Kirkus Review

“[Pritchard’s] writing…is beautiful, graphic, aggressive — and always smart.”
The Bloomsbury Review

“Wildly imaginative…Endearingly quirky.”

“Delightfully odd.”
Entertainment Weekly