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About the Author: Elizabeth Janeway

American author and critic born Elizabeth Ames Hall. When her family fell on hard times during the Depression, Janeway was forced to end her Swarthmore College education and help support the family by creating bargain basement sale slogans (she graduated from Barnard College just a few years later, in 1935).

Intent on becoming an author, Janeway took the same creative writing class again and again to help hone her craft. While working on her first novel, The Walsh Girls, she met and married Eliot Janeway, economic adviser to Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson (he was known as "Calamity Janeway" for his pessimistic economic forecasts).

The Janeways mingled with United States Supreme Court justices and many other luminaries of the day.

At the behest of labor organizer Walter Reuther, she aided General Motors workers with their mid-1940s strike against the company.

Her 1949 novel The Question of Gregory attracted attention due to the eerie similarities between Gregory and James Forrestal, a Defense Secretary and acquaintance of the Janeways who committed suicide. Janeway denied any connection between fact and fiction; she said the real theme of the book was "liberals in trouble".

In all, Janeway wrote seven novels; one, 1945's Daisy Kenyon, was made into a film starring Joan Crawford. For a time she was a reviewer for the New York Times. In that capacity she introduced writer Anthony Powell and served as a champion of controversial works such as Lolita. She was also a reviewer for Ms. magazine.

From 1965-1969 she served as president of the Authors Guild, addressing lawmakers about copyright protection and other matters.

Many of Janeway's early works focused on the family situation, with occasional glimpses at the struggles of women in modern society. In the early 1970s, she began a more explicitly feminist path with works such as Man's World, Woman's Place: A Study of Social Mythology. She befriended Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Kate Millet and was strongly in favor of abortion rights. Janeway continued to write and go on lecture tours. She learned to speak Russian so that she could visit the Soviet Union.

Janeway was a judge for the National Book Awards in 1955 and for the Pulitzer Prize in 1971. She was an executive of International PEN. At its 1981 commencement ceremonies, her alma mater Barnard College awarded Janeway its highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction.

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Goodreads rating: 4.00

Paperback, Published in Jan 1993 by The Feminist Press at CUNY

ISBN10: 0935312730 | ISBN13: 9780935312737

Page count: 336

Rich in emotional detail, Leaving Home tells the absorbing story of three siblings who must make the transition to independent adult life during the Depression: Nina, just out of Vassar and working in publishing; Kermit, a Columbia student, sarcastic and manipulative; and Marion, pretty, vulnerable, and involved in an impossible affair. The New York Times Book Review calls the novel “a delight to read, and even re-read, for its subtle, ironic implications."

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