The Vinegar Jar

Berlie Doherty, Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-14442-5
Berlie Doherty is best known as a children's author, and her first novel for adults has the otherworldly air of a creepy bedtime story. Unhappy and lonely, Rose Doran makes the mistake of falling in love with William, a glamorous young tap dancer whose hair is ""as shiny as his shoes."" Rose moves in with William, his mother and a baby that may or may not be his. But before long, the feckless hoofer dances off into the arms of a red-haired cinema usherette. Rose grabs the baby, Edmund, and soon settles into a sexless marriage with a man twice her age, the dull and steady Gordon. Isolated and craving affection, Rose turns to her next-door neighbor, Paedric, an eccentric ""gnome-like, bright-eyed man."" The plot becomes progressively darker and weirder as the two trade stories and Rose is pulled deeper and deeper into Paedric's parallel universe, gradually losing her grip on reality. Doherty's drama of codependent fantasy life perfectly replicates the foreboding quality of so many classic fairy tales, but it contains little of the beauty. She works traditional folk tales into her narrative at every turn, blurring the line between her story and all the stories that have come before. Frustrated by bleak reality, Rose submerges herself in make-believe, but Doherty's grim tale is a haunting reminder that the imagination isn't always the sanctuary it appears to be. Some dreams end badly. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1996
Release date: 08/01/1996
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.