Larque on the Wing

Nancy Springer, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (277p) ISBN 978-0-688-13175-3
Best known for her traditional fantasy novels, Springer ( Apocalypse ) here offers an offbeat contemporary tale that owes much to magical realism. Larque Harootunian is having a midlife crisis, taking stock of her comfortable life as a wife, mother and painter of chintzy pastels for the tourist market in Soudersburg, Pa. But Larque isn't like other 40-year-olds. All her life she's been generating what she calls ``doppelgangers,'' psychic manifestations of her thoughts, and now she's made one of her preadolescent self, who chides Larque about settling for a life that bears little resemblance to her youthful imaginings. Larque then begins a journey into her own personality that culminates with her transformation into an attractive young gay man. (The narrative treats such surreal goings-on--of which there are many--as commonplace.) In the end, Larque must weigh the attractions of this existence against the good aspects of her actual life. Springer effectively uses fantasy to evoke midlife soul-searching, and Larque's self-exploration is filled with moments of authentic joy and crushing sorrow. Though the author occasionally falls off the narrow tightrope stretched between the real and the surreal, she has produced an engrossing novel about gender and self-formation that should appeal to readers both in and outside the SF/fantasy audience. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/1994
Release date: 02/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-0-380-97234-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 277 pages - 978-0-380-76742-7
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