Heartbreak Hotel

Gabrielle Burton, Author Scribner Book Company $15.95 (303p) ISBN 978-0-684-18594-1
e is the near future. Six womenMaggie, Meg, Rita, Gretchen, Daisy and Pearlare on mandatory leave at Heartbreak Hotel, the resthouse adjoining Buffalo's Museum of the Revolution, whose humpbacked curator Quasi has just been smashed senseless in a motorcycle accident. She survives only by virtue of a grim support system; whether it will save her depends on the six women, three wishing her dead, three praying for her life. She is, in fact, the microcosm of Woman, born wearing the hump of masculine scorn and superiority. While Quasi struggles, Daisy, who runs the hotel, gets word that the museuma vast panoply of exhibits that both deify and degrade womenis to be closed; at this point all six hotel residents use their talents to ward off foreclosure. And we learn who they are, and what guilts haunt them. All, Pearl excepted, are aspects of Margaret, whose name is corrupted into the nicknames of the other five. This black comedy/radical feminist novel, Burton's first (she also wrote the nonfiction I'm Running Away from Home but I'm Not Allowed to Cross the Street, and the winner of the Maxwell Perkins Prize, is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes outrageously funny. But its unsubtle message, delivered in sledgehammer fashion, and its often obfuscatory prose may be off-putting to all but the most radical feminists. (October 31)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Paperback - 303 pages - 978-0-14-010819-4
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-56478-167-3
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