Virgin Territory

Sara Maitland, Author Beaufort Books $0 (209p) ISBN 978-0-8253-0350-0
The new novel by the author of the Somerset Maugham Awardwinning Daughter of Jerusalem charts one nun's spiritual journey away from the church. When Sister Kitty is raped in the Central American town ironically named Santa Virgine, the nuns in her convent find their assurance violated, but few so strongly as Sister Anna, who, near mental collapse, retires for a year's sabbatical in Britain. There, research leads her to discover Christianity's brutal role in Latin American colonization; she is equally horrified by the interdictions of theological ""Fathers.'' However, in Caro, a brain-damaged child in her care, she detects a seductively playful opposing voice, and Karen, the intellectually vigorous radical lesbian who befriends Anna, points to new possibilities for the vow of virginity. When these female voices finally silence those of the Fathers, Anna leaves the convent for brave virgin territory all her own. Feminists and iconoclasts will applaud Maitland's eloquent array of female characters and her coherent opposition of male and female archetypes. Other readers may find the book a bit heavy going and didactic. (March 14)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1984
Release date: 01/01/1984
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