Kirkwood's prose is sure-handed and her characters' inner lives are as artfully reconstructed as the features Eleanor enhances.  - Kirkus Reviews April 1, 2010 

Kirkwood has a command of the craft of fiction that is arresting ... The book begins with an epigraph from Jeanette Winterson, which sets the tone for Kirkwood’s precise language, erotic and transfixing mood, and characters who reveal themselves just enough without breaking any of the mystery that lies taut across this satisfying novel. ( 

- Lambda Literary October 7, 2010   

In her odd trio of narrators — a transgendered woman, the plastic surgeon she briefly lives with, and one of the surgeon's patients — Catherine Kirkwood's Cut Away literalizes and embodies these issues of self-definition and genuineness. ( - Philadelphia City Paper May 5, 2010 

While slim, Catherine Kirkwood's debut novel (published by Arktoi Books, a new imprint of Red Hen Press dedicated to publishing works by lesbian authors) reads like a much longer work in terms of its thematic scope and intricate character development. Set in Los Angeles and the Salton Sea, Kirkwood's parched and illusory outer landscapes reflect perfectly the emotional aridity and confusion that permeate the inner lives of the characters in her story.  ( - Shelf Awareness March 25, 2010 

 A teenage girl runs away from herself. A mother runs away from her past. A cosmetic surgeon runs away from her need for intimacy. A transgendered woman runs away from society. Their paths cross ever so briefly in this taut novel of image and identity. Set in Southern California and navigating the gap between scenes of beauty and scenes of desolation, the story poses many questions. Is anatomy destiny? Is identity fixed or fluid? Does one's past predict one's future? Kirkwood's unsettling debut novel is tightly woven, with each passage revealing just a few threads. By the end, the characters each find what they were searching for, but the questions remain. 

- Library Journal  March 1, 2010 


Erotic, dark and intense ... An original, thrilling debut.- Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh   Like a surgeon's knife, Kirkwood's writing is precise, direct and unsentimental. Indeed, the novel cuts deeply.- Helena Maria Viramontes, author of Their Dogs Came With Them. The vivid reality of the people and places keep us in their disturbing and beautiful world. - Rachel Pollack, author of The Tarot of Perfection A Book Of Tales  

A story whose characters are intriguing, complicated, and all searching for something or someone. You can’t help caring for them in the best possible way—without judgment; and you can’t help reading on late into the night to unravel the intriguing connections between them. Judith Barrington   

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