Heart's Desires

Katharine Marlowe, Author
Katharine Marlowe, Author Dutton Books $19.95 (307p) ISBN 978-1-55611-226-3
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8439-3315-4
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At age 10, Alyssa Jackson already possesses the exaggerated psychological awareness that gives rise to interminable musings on her own and others' motivations. Such speculations overwhelm plot details in this earnest but overwrought first novel. Aly's mother, Rheta, drags Aly and her 12-year-old brother, Cliff, to a new Manhattan apartment each time she breaks up with one of her numerous boyfriends. The latest, Don, moves in and tries to molest Aly; Aly subsequently moves in with her father; one week later, Don murders Rheta and Cliff, then takes his own life. Years later, studying psychology in London, Aly begins dating two actors, childish Jeremy Brown and her soulmate, Andrew Slayne-Riggs. Her first sexual experience, with Jeremy, leaves her pregnant. She and Jeremy marry and begin 15 years of an unworkable marriage that finally ends with Aly's discovery of Jeremy's illegitimate child. Aly's constant introspection helps her work through her neurotic guilt and self-contempt, and long talks with her children and patient Andrew lead to a happy ending. Periodic ``interludes''--short italized sections--disrupt an emotionally labored narrative, particularly when one such interlude, giving details of the birth of Aly's first child, is followed by a chapter in which a second child appears without explanation. (Feb.)
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