Rose

Rose Boyt, Author
Rose Boyt, Author Random House (NY) $19 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-40812-3
Hardcover - 978-0-09-173763-4
Paperback - 978-0-09-988930-4
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Surely we can read into the fact that the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud chooses to bestow on the eponymous narrator of her second novel (after Sexual Intercourse ) her own given name. Rose, 28, tells her life story--in a ``book''that takes her two years to write--not as a chronological account but as journal-like reminiscences and impressions of events, interspersed with occasional comments on the current state of her affairs. She describes her unconventional early childhood on a freighter sailing between England, Denmark, Finland, Spain and Trinidad with her mother, her three siblings and Klaus, her mother's lover and the ship's captain. Rose initially mistakes Klaus's sexual advances toward her as a sign of his quasi-paternal affection, but not for long. The family, without Klaus, returns to England, where they live in poverty. As a young teenager in the early 1970s, Rose busies herself with barbituates and boys; her mother lacks the strength to tame her children. When Klaus reappears and again sexually abuses Rose, her mother accuses her of asking for it. The women in Rose's life are abused and abandoned by men--she describes her sense that they share ``a female mystery, some kind of damage.'' Boyt's language is poetic; her descriptions through Rose's strong voice of sights, scents, people and moods are vivid, often painful but always lively . (Feb.)
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