Anywhere but Here Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Mona Simpson

First published: 1986

Genre: Novel

Locale: Bay City, Wisconsin, to Hollywood, California

Plot: Domestic realism

Time: The 1930's to the 1970's

Ann August, the narrator of four sections. Ann, the daughter of Adele August, recalls moments from her youth, especially the tensions in her relationship with her mother over a period of several years.

Adele August, the narrator of the last chapter. Mother to Ann, daughter to Lillian, and sister to Carol, Adele possesses lofty ambitions. She foists those desires on Ann, dragging her across America in search of a glamorous identity for both of them in Hollywood. Adele rarely sees beyond surface impressions and allows her myopic view to dominate and control her life and her daughter's.

Carol, the narrator of three sections, all of which are addressed to Ann. Sister to Adele, wife to Jimmy, and mother to Benny (who died in his late teens) and Hal, Carol is eleven years older than Adele. She worked as a teletype operator for the WACs during World War II, and she secretly married a French Jew who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler. Because he died on the train returning with Carol to Wisconsin, Carol did not tell her family that she had a husband before Jimmy. She finally tells Ann.

Lillian, the narrator of one chapter, which is addressed to Ann. Lillian, Adele and Carol's mother, describes her unplanned pregnancy with Carol, her relationships with both young women, and her experiences with sexual relations, which she ultimately finds repugnant.

Categories: Characters