Woman Between Mirrors

Helena Parente Cunha, Author University of Texas Press $0 (132p) ISBN 978-0-292-79045-2
A Brazilian professor of literature, Cunha divides her energies in this sophisticated if excessively calculated first novel between conveying one woman's struggle to claim her own identity and exploring the theoretical relationships of authors to characters, narrators to narratives. A first-person voice announces: ``I'm the character here. The narrator is herself, the woman who writes me. The author has nothing to do with the story.'' This ``character'' considers her experiences, describing her sexually repressed, upper-middle-class upbringing; her marriage to an egotistical philanderer; her three troubled sons; and her awakening, both sexual and intellectual, at age 46, following her husband's desertion. The ``woman who writes me'' offers counterpoint; when the speaker, for example, asserts that she is ``at peace,'' the alter ego interrupts: ``What you call peace is your ability to efface yourself.'' While Cunha's gambits are carefully executed, they drain the story of urgency, rendering it an almost wholly cerebral divertissement. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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