Deep North

Fanny Howe, Author
Fanny Howe, Author Sun and Moon Press $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55713-025-9
Paperback - 152 pages - 978-1-55713-105-8
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The delicate, introspective style of Anais Nin grafted onto a tale of interracial conflict and psychosexual groping for identity in the McCarthy-'50s and chaotic '60s best suggests the flavor of this iridescent gem of a novel, the latest in this publisher's New American Fiction series. Its heroine, Gemma, identified as ``G,'' learns self-hatred from her vain, aristocratic mother and stiff New Englander father. When the mother fires their black maid Darlene, Gemma is left with emotional scars. Olive-skinned Gemma will later revolt against her well-heeled Boston milieu, chuck her randy psychoanalyst husband and pretend that she is a black woman. Tired of ``being on the wrong side of history,'' Gemma has a series of affairs culminating in a romance with a black law student, but her deception crumbles along with her false self. Howe ( First Marriage , In the Middle of Nowhere ) here employs stream-of-consciousness, sudden time shifts, erotic imagery and provocative stylistic devices. Despite a certain precious, artificial quality, this fascinating story burns with fierce intensity as it probes the complexes of a woman reinventing herself. (Nov.)
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