Suspicious River

Laura Kasischke, Author
Laura Kasischke, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-395-77397-0
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-395-86002-1
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-544-46493-3
Hardcover - 271 pages - 978-0-571-19231-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-89650-4
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Bestowing her gift of lyricism upon a sordid subject, acclaimed poet Kasischke (Wild Brides, 1992 winner of the Bobst Award for Emerging Writers) limns a young married woman's plunge into prostitution in a first novel that, despite alchemical prose, leaves the reader feeling as breathless and entrapped as the protagonist. Leila Murray begins to moonlight as a hooker while working as a receptionist at the Swan Motel in the small town of Suspicious River, Mich. As she attracts more ""customers,"" the arrival of Gary Jensen-a persistent john who is by turns violent and affectionate-turns the story toward the past, to Leila's abused childhood, her promiscuous adolescence and the unfolding horror of her mother's death. In the present, Leila must determine whether the cycle of abuse that has trapped her can cease-and whether survival even matters to her anymore. Kasischke's prose is sure and her command of the telling detail exemplary; but her protagonist seems more a product of social theory and demographic findings than a living woman. While the story's slow pull down an emotional drain evokes a chilling gravity, moreover, the unremitting bleakness makes the dispirited Leila's final resistance to her fate less than credible. (Apr.)
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