American Girl

Page Edwards, Author Marion Boyars Publishers $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7145-2912-7
Living in a web of delusion, Nancy Meade abandons her ``redneck professor husband,'' who turned a shotgun on their home, and heads for St. Augustine, Fla., where her family runs the Fountain of Youth. This tawdry tourist attraction--founded as a whorehouse/gambling pavilion by her grandmother, a doctor who fled the Yukon--supposedly enshrines the legendary fountain sought by explorer Ponce de Leon. (The character of the grandmother is based on a real figure.) Told in shifting voices, Edwards's ( Peggy Salte ) short, exquisitely wrought novel sings of pain, love, hope and the despair of lost souls. Nancy carries on imaginary conversations with Sallie Stevens, the subject of her ethnology dissertation, who lived on a Florida island in the 1790s, abandoned for months on end by her cattle-thief husband. Gloria Gloriastet.eed , a hitchhiker whom Nancy brings home, hitches up with W. B. Tromone, an unhinged theater professor who cloaks his body in feathers when they make love and who plans suicide via a wing-frame contraption. Such gothic doings are made tragic and touching in a searching exploration of women and men on a quest for self-definition. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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