The Powers of Charlotte

Jane Lazarre, Author Crossing Press $18.95 (316p) ISBN 978-0-89594-249-4
As an infant, Charlotte Cohen is left in New York by her mother Mara, who has joined her husband George, a soldier in the Spanish Civil War. The couple is killed, Charlotte is taken in by George's brother Buck and his wife Rose, the situation giving rise to Charlotte's lifelong doubts about her abandonment and paternity (George or Buck?). Lazarre's (Some Kind of Innocence) third novel charts Charlotte's ever-active imaginationevinced through erotic girlhood fantasies, and painting and writing. The effort ultimately founders under the weight of history and political rhetoric, a 40-year time span, overanalyzing by Charlotte's therapist husband Alex and Charlotte's tiresome obsession with her parents. Lazarre's passion runs awry in overwritten prose (""the past came back like an avalanche of volcanic ash, a mud river cascading down the slopes of their mountain peak'') and careless minutiae. (To demonstrate George's primal creative power, Lazarre has him renaming his brother and wife. Miriam becomes Mara because ``you are not a bitter sea, but simply a seawild, passionate and strong.'' In a mistake that reverberates throughout the novel, Lazarre has appropriated the wrong half of the word: ``mara'' is Hebrew for bitter.) (October 15)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
Paperback - 350 pages - 978-0-89594-329-3
Hardcover - 978-1-891305-53-5
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