Sexual Intercourse

Rose Boyt, Author
Rose Boyt, Author Random House (NY) $17.95 (181p) ISBN 978-0-394-58693-9
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
This bitterly comic first novel seethes with Oedipal conflict, hinted-at neurotic perversions and Freudian dramas, so it may be more than coincidental that Boyt is the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud. Sad, delicate, lonely Isobel Lord becomes pregnant from a loveless, chance sexual encounter with her neighbor Norman Brake, a narcissistic ``mummy's boy.'' Isobel refuses to marry him but insists on having the baby, mistakenly hoping that this will somehow win for herself the love of her father, a rude, tyrannical, pipe-smoking writer. Boyt proves equally adept at minimalist Dick-and-Jane nastiness (``The grubby baby is patient and quiet'') and at feverish stream-of-consciousness imaginings through which we glimpse her heroine's paralyzing fears and self-doubt. When Norman's randy mother gets married, he predictably becomes unhinged, providing a suitably bizarre finale. Menace lurks in every other paragraph of this wicked little tale. (Sept.)
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