Owning Joline

Shelby Hearon, Author Alfred A. Knopf $17.95 (209p) ISBN 978-0-394-57175-1
Writing with her usual sensitivity aug mented by a larky comic strain, Hearon has created her most appealing heroine in what is arguably her best novel so far. From the time she was seven, Jolene Temple has been a pawn between her feuding parents, each of whom has become practiced in kidnapping her from the other. She has been left emotionally suspended between two philosophies of life: that of her stolid, conventional father, ``always saving for a rainy day,'' and of her recklessly adventurous mother, ``always saying she enjoyed a little shower.'' Having adopted a different disguise each time her mother stole her away, at 19 Jolene is still unsure of her real identity; she is at ease only in acting a role. When she meets bland L. W. Dawson, she thinks he holds the answers to her quest to be ``normal.'' Meanwhile, however, she has been posing for, and has become the mistress of, middle-aged, twice-divorced artist Henry Wozencrantz, who has much to teach her about facing life without running away. Set in present-day Texas of oil-bust hard times (``the whole state is claiming Chapter Eleven''), the novel delivers wickedly funny, incisive social commentary as well as vivid, quirky characters as outsized as the Lone Star State. Hearon ( Five Hun dred Scorpions ) has hit her stride with this delightful, provocative story. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
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