In the Cut

Susanna Moore, Author Alfred A. Knopf $21 (179p) ISBN 978-0-679-42258-7
Several stunning shocks await Moore's longtime readers in her fourth novel. First, there is the change of genre and locale. Her previous books (My Old Sweetheart; The Whiteness of Bones) have been lush, sensitive explorations of coming of age in a dysfunctional family in Hawaii, in an atmosphere permeated by island spirits and traditions. Here, Moore has honed her prose with knife-like precision to construct an edgy, intense, erotic thriller set in bohemian Manhattan. Her protagonist and narrator, Franny, is a divorced NYU professor deliberately closed off from emotional entanglements. She teaches a class for ghetto youth, meanwhile pursuing her obsession with language; she is writing a book recording the street vernacular and the black lingo of New York's seedier neighborhoods. Though on the surface her life seems circumscribed, she is a woman who takes risks, especially sexual risks. One night, she observes a man with a tattoo on his wrist in an act of sexual congress; though she does not see his face, she remembers the red-haired woman who had performed fellatio when she becomes a murder victim. Questioned as a possible witness by homicide detectives James Mallory and his partner Richard Rodriguez, she enjoys the frisson of danger when she takes Mallory as a lover, in spite of the fact that his wrist bears the same tattoo as that of the probable killer. The predatory, slightly corrupt Mallory is a coolly skillful lover, forcing Franny to push beyond sexual barriers into areas she has never explored. But in testing those erotic boundaries, she puts herself in mortal danger. Moore's control of her material is impressive: as she sweeps toward a knockout ending, she employs the gritty vernacular, red-herring clues and cold-blooded brutality of a bona-fide thriller without sacrificing the integrity of her narrative. The question is: will readers be disturbed--and perhaps repelled by--explicit descriptions of sexual acts, scatological language and gruesome violence? 100,000 first printing. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-0-517-19307-5
Hardcover - 978-0-451-40736-8
Paperback - 180 pages - 978-0-452-28480-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-451-98307-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 2 pages - 978-0-679-44762-7
Hardcover - 978-0-517-27872-7
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-452-28129-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 272 pages - 978-0-451-40722-1
Paperback - 179 pages - 978-0-307-38719-6
Hardcover - 978-0-330-34781-5
Open Ebook - 101 pages - 978-0-307-82653-4
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