Even Now

Michelle Latiolais, Author
Michelle Latiolais, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $18.95 (268p) ISBN 978-0-374-14993-2
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Set in northern California, this sympathetic but slow-moving first novel traces the struggles of teenaged Lisa Sandham, torn between her divorced parents. Lisa's mother, Elisabeth, petulant and controlling, is accustomed to the limelight--she acts in summer stock and light opera, and plays the cello. She coaches Lisa to tell lawyers that she doesn't wish to live with her father, a pilot. Bewildered and anxious, Lisa does as she's told, her subsequent guilt exacerbated when her father accuses her of betraying him. Rivalry complicates Lisa and Elisabeth's relationship when they attend a fancy-dress ball given during an annual local Vintage Festival. There Lisa attracts the attention of her mother's boyfriend David, just back from Saudi Arabia, who begins a halfhearted flirtation with the girl. Lisa's unhappiness emerges in repetitive imagery of fists, both actual and metaphorical; e.g., ``a.fist inside her punching out against her stomach and rib cage.'' Latiolais's tendency to explore the minutiae of Lisa's feelings results in a narrative that is stiflingly overexplicated and occasionally precious. (May)
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