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Jenefer Shute, Author, Jennifer Shute, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.95 (231p) ISBN 978-0-395-60479-3
With nightmarish accuracy and bleak wit, this first novel chronicles the traumatic hospitalization of 25-year-old Josie, an anorexic graduate student who has starved herself down to 67 pounds. Institutionalized against her will, the first-person narrator is forced to recall her painful adolescence and dissatisfying sexual experiences, while Shute weaves in ``excerpts'' from glossy fashion magazines and diet books to hint at the sociological underpinnings of this contemporary female madness. But the author is less concerned with etiology than with maintaining a continuous description of the anorexic experience itself. Josie tabulates calories reflexively, sees eating as bestial and shameful, pores over the food sections of the newspaper (``poetry: the only kind I read''). Her lunch trays glimmer with almost psychedelic imagery, and an orange slice is ``reptilian rind and colony of pustular sacs.'' The unwavering bitterness, the lurid preoccupation with food and the remoteness of the narrator may make this book too intense for some but also certify its authenticity. Literary Guild selection. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1992
Release date: 04/01/1992
Paperback - 978-0-380-72064-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 308 pages - 978-0-380-73021-6
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