Melissa Bank, witty bestselling author, dies at 61 | National

NEW YORK (AP) — Melissa Bank, whose 1999 bestseller “The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing” was a series of interconnected stories widely hailed for its precise wit and language and embraced by young readers, is died at age 61.

Viking Books announced that Bank died Tuesday in East Hampton, New York. She had lung cancer.

Bank was originally from Philadelphia with a master’s degree from Cornell University whose influences ranged from Vladimir Nabokov to Grace Paley. It took her 12 years to complete ‘The Girls’ Guide’, in part due to a bicycle accident that damaged her short-term memory and ability to think of words. But her book, which follows the life of a young woman from adolescence to adulthood, was a critical and commercial success.

“Bank draws exquisite portraits of loneliness and can do so in one sentence,” Yahlin Chang of Newsweek wrote.

Two stories from “The Girls’ Guide” were adapted into the 2007 romantic comedy “Suburban Girl,” starring Alec Baldwin and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Bank also wrote “The Wonder Spot” comic book collection, in which she traced a woman’s efforts to find her place in the world, and her writing has appeared in Plowshares and Zoetrope, among other publications. She also taught in the MFA program at Stony Brook. Southampton.

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Lola R. McClure