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Ruthann Robson, Author
Ruthann Robson, Author St. Martin's Press $14.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-15469-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-312-19825-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-312-29219-5
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The two women at the center of Robson's (Another Mother; Eye of the Hurricane) latest comedy of lesbian manners spend a lot of time trying to figure out who they are--with what would seem to be good reason. Law student by day, lesbian ""escort"" by night, Margaret Smyth regularly changes her hair, clothes, even her name to suit the company in which she finds herself. Every Thursday evening, for instance, she becomes lusty Tamara for a closeted minister's wife; for a Staten Island businesswoman, she turns into gorgeous, blonde Melanie; and in front of the heterosexual head of a lesbian and gay organization she is professional, businesslike Ursula. Meanwhile, TV soap opera actress Beverly Jane ""BJ"" Willensky finds herself balancing her 20-year role as straight attorney, her equally straight stage persona and her domestic (real) life as a lesbian high-school dropout trying to make a home with her upper-class, mentally ill lover and their adolescent son. Though this saga of alternating personalities sounds confusing, oddly, it's not. Robson weaves intrigue, mystery and romance into a compelling tale that suffers, if anything, from characterizations that turn out to be all-too-neat--and from conclusions (narrative and political) that give off an antiseptic whiff of agitprop. Fortunately, Robson's quick pacing and her intricately executed plot hold the reader's interest, and even the too optimistic conclusion suggests the possibilities of invented lives. (Sept.)
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