Lulu Incognito

Raymond Kennedy, Author Vintage Books USA $7.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-394-75641-7
Lulu, a 21-year-old self-described nonentity (""I'm very much of a dunce,'' she says, ``and don't have anything to say about anything''), is the unlikely centerpiece of Kennedy's intriguing fifth novel. An easy target for emotional manipulation, she lives in a factory-town tenement, works at Woolworth's and says her prayers every night. Soon attractive but eerie Mr. Rafferty whisks her away to serve his wealthy friend, the widow Julia Gansevoort. Julia pampers Lulu and dresses her in the lavish wardrobe of her own dead daughter, while showing only disdain for her niece and nephew. Julia further exploits Lulu in evil ways, and when Lulu awakens to what is happening, she cannot avert tragedy. The quirky third-person narrative can be so cryptic that even characters in the novel comment on it. ``Tell me,'' someone asks Lulu, ``is something peculiar going on around here?'' Lulu, the ultimate mystery, does not respond, but a reader will be quick to answer in the affirmative. (March)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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