TRACE ELEMENTS OF RANDOM TEA PARTIES

Felicia Luna Lemus, Author
Felicia Luna Lemus, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $23 (256p) ISBN 978-0-374-27856-4
Reviewed on: 10/06/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Paperback - 247 pages - 978-1-58005-126-2
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-2162-6
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Lesbian grrrls enjoying the gritty splendors of Los Angeles are the protagonists of this edgy, exuberant debut novel. Leticia Marisol Estrella Torrez is a young woman in her early 20s valiantly trying to find her place in a world of queers living life on their own terms, even if it means breaking with the traditions of her past. Leti's conventional grandmother raised her to be a proper young Mexican-American woman, but Leti is seeking more excitement and freedom. With "shaved head and stomping boots, my adolescent dyke dick hard all the time," Leti crashes the dyke scene while treading more sedately around her grandmother and dreaming of Weeping Woman, a dangerous, seductive figure from Mexican folklore who haunted her childhood. As she careens through the hipster punk world of Southern California, Leti bounces from girlfriend to girlfriend, learning some valuable lessons the hard way. The enticing women she meets are described in fabulous, over-the-top prose: "My girl Edith: smarty-pants Mission District glamour homegrrrl moved down to Los Angeles on her leopard-print motorcycle." And then there is K, "candy heaven," who battles for Leti's heart along with the inscrutable shade of Weeping Woman. The sex is fun, rollicking and a little bit dangerous; the characters are young and guardedly optimistic. Lemus's enthusiasm bubbles over at times, and her flights of poetic fancy are sometimes wobbly ("taking time like starlight in slow motion"; "I got scared by how lemon-lime Otter Pop her toes could get"), but this is an intriguing novel sure to attract readers searching for something urban, lively and a bit different. Agent, Stuart Bernstein. (Sept.)

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