Ava

Carole Maso, Author Dalkey Archive Press $19.95 (274p) ISBN 978-1-56478-029-4
As in her innovative, passionate previous novels, Ghost Dance and The Art Lover , Maso's third work of fiction presents heartbreakingly familiar emotions in an utterly original form. Reminiscent of Joyce's Ulysses , the book records one special and ominous day in the life of Ava Klein--her last day, in fact, as she dies of a rare blood cancer at age 39. In paragraphs that are often only a word, a name or a line, Maso conveys this uncompromising and vibrant woman's rich emotional life: her three husbands, close friends, a cat named Madame Butterfly, her teaching and writing career, such cherished places as New York and Paris, authors and literary characters who have entered her existence as thoroughly as flesh-and-blood people. The author's deft use of repetition and amplification binds together and thickens Ava's story, which is further enriched by captivating flashes of imagery: ``the rose called Cuisse de Nymphe Emue: Thigh of an Aroused Nymph.'' (Maso provides endnotes to help readers with more obscure references.) Without minimizing the tragedy of Ava's illness--which continues the tragic history of a family who experienced the horrors of Treblinka--Maso offers a generous, hopeful fictional memoir of an unusual woman's final day of life. First serial to Conjunctions; author tour. ( May )
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993
Release date: 03/01/1993
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