Unusual Company

Margaret Erhart, Author Dutton Books $17.95 (225p) ISBN 978-0-525-24567-4
This soul-searching first novel explores a young woman's physical and spiritual odyssey, a passionate journey that eventually leads her to maturity and self-acceptance. Franny is still naive at 22 when she becomes infatuated with Claire, an elusive older woman. The two live together for several months in a cramped Manhattan studio apartment. But despite their shared sensibilities and intense communions, they are driven apart by Franny's possessiveness and Claire's ever-increasing need for solitude. Franny moves out West and acquires other lovers, all of them women. Living in the woods of northern California, she eventually establishes an easygoing companionship with Esther, an old school chum. Later, in Santa Fe, Franny has many affairs, sustained by a new-found inner strength that allows her to ""love all women,'' as Claire once said she should. Erhart's characters are plagued dramatically by longing, nostalgia and loneliness, and they all tend to take themselves just a little too seriously. Nonetheless, their conversations and sexual encounters are vivid, honest and interesting. Nowhere in the book is lesbianism brandished aggressively; in this female world men simply recede innocuously into the shadows. (December 7)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1987
Release date: 12/01/1987
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