Melissa Bank, author best known for her 1999 bestselling ‘The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing’, has died after a battle with lung cancer, editor Penguin Books confirmed to USA TODAY. She was 61 years old.
A statement from Penguin on Wednesday notes that Bank died Tuesday in East Hampton, New York, calling her “a writer with a distinctive minimalist style and a daringly hilarious voice”, and adds, “she captivated generations of readers with her warmly piercing insights into relationships, family and adulthood.”
Bank’s modest bibliography left a large imprint on turn-of-the-century bestseller lists. “The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing” told the story of Jane Rosenal in a collection of related short stories, beginning at age 14 and following her adventures and setbacks in sex, love and work with a relatable comedic touch. Even readers who have never read it will probably remember the book’s striking cover of a girl in a red winter coat, running off with boots and a black hat with ear flaps.
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“The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing” debuted on USA TODAY’s best-selling books list in 1999, peaking at #24 and spending 40 weeks on the list.
Bank followed that resounding success with her 2005 novel The Wonder Spot, about another young woman, Sophie Applebaum, and her quest to forge her own identity.
Bank received an MFA from Cornell University and won the Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction from the Chicago Tribune. She is listed on the Stony Brook Southampton faculty page located in Southampton, New York.
Many writers expressed their condolences on Twitter on Wednesday, sharing their appreciation for his work.
“RIP to Melissa Bank, who wrote a smart and funny book that many people loved (and tried to imitate for years), The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing”, writes Jami Attenbergauthor of “The Middlesteins” and “All This Could Be Yours”.
“This heartbreaking news. This wonderful collection from #MelissaBank has been such a landmark for me and so many others,” the novelist wrote. Laura Zigmanreferring to the “Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing”.
“RIP to Melissa Bank, author of many but perhaps the most incredible, ‘The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing’. One of those seductive books which, if you catch it at the right time, becomes a friend to life,” tweeted writer Gideon Yago.
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Contributor: Mary Cadden, USA TODAY