THE CURSE OF THE APPROPRIATE MAN

Lynn Freed, Author . Harvest $13 (188p) ISBN 978-0-15-602994-0

Women's relationships—with their mothers, their lovers, their culture and their own sexuality—are the subject of the 14 stories (written over nearly 20 years) in this fine collection. Freed, the author of five novels (The Mirror ; House of Women ; etc.), creates achingly real women and lovingly rendered misfits, and she reports straightforwardly and without judgment on their unconventional urges and questionable decisions. "Under the House" recounts a young girl's first sexual encounter with a traveling knife sharpener in the crawl space under her house and her subsequent memories of what should have been a traumatic event for her but was in fact something much more ambiguous. "The Widow's Daughter" tells of a young woman, possibly abused as a child, discovering and then flaunting her sexual power, much to her mother's horror. In the affecting title story, a middle-aged woman ponders how "half a lifetime of appropriate men can leave a woman parched for adventure." She dates two eccentric men but, finding herself still longing for the exotic, travels to Asia. On her way back, she meets a friend who's taken the opposite tack, marrying for convenience ("Quite acceptable, once you get over the death of the heart"). A few of these stories are schematic in their briefness, but most are quietly devastating and deeply resonant. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh at William Morris. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/09/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0644-0
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-547-56391-6
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