Kathe Koja, Author Henry Holt & Company $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8050-4391-4
Characters consumed by their obsessions are a Koja (Strange Angels) trademark, but where they have served as appropriate vehicles for the psychological horrors of her earlier novels, they come across as self-absorbed bores in this stab at transgressive mainstream fiction. Jess, who narrates, and Sophie are young lovers, synchronized in mood and smugly confident of their superiority to the avant-garde artiste types they hang out with-until they let the sexually alluring Lena move into their apartment. Lena becomes part of their ""kink,"" a way of ""making your life, shaping it like, like art, by the way you see things, the way you are."" The ensuing menage a trois proves short-lived, however, as Jess and Sophie find themselves battling for Lena's affection. Jess spends much of his time wallowing in self-pity and blinded to what will be obvious to readers: that the aloof Lena is working out her own kink, using the unperceptive couple as pawns. Koja is a brilliant stylist; the unembellished sensory impressions she shapes into the matrix of Jess's narrative perfectly express his emotional devastation. Jess will win the sympathy of few readers, however, as his ceaseless examination of his hurt feelings casts his story in the same light in which he ultimately views Lena: as an entity ""without passion or defiance, no heat at all, but only cold, enormous and self-contained."" Rights (other than electronic): Scovil Chichak Galen. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1996
Release date: 06/01/1996
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