Melinda, Doing Her Best


Herbert Gold is the author of such novels as Birth of a Hero (1951), The Man Who Was Not With It (1956), and Fathers (1967), as well as of the nonfiction works Haiti: Best Nightmare on Earth (2001) and the memoir Still Alive! A Temporary Condition (2008).

“Melinda, Doing Her Best,” which appears in ZYZZYVA’s Winter 2011 issue, is a story set sometime in ’90s San Francisco, back when Moose’s was open in North Beach and when dot-com money was pouring into the city. That the title character is a computer programmer on the outs, then, is particularly striking. It’s tempting to read Melinda as a harbinger of the high tech good times gone sour. But the story is primarily a troubling depiction of a woman everybody wants something from, a person truly alone.


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