The New Moon with the Old Moon in Her Arms: A True Story Assembled from Scholarly Hearsay

Ursule Molinaro, Author McPherson $10 (119p) ISBN 978-0-929701-29-5
Molinaro's ( Positions with White Roses ) clever feminist novella is actually more like an extended (perhaps even a little attenuated) anecdote, set in ancient Athens. The female narrator is a nameless 30-year-old poet who has volunteered to be sacrificed by stoning on the feast day of Thargelia in order to expiate the sins and cure the illnesses of the city's inhabitants. Since the sacrificial ``bride'' is highly visible for a year before her death, our heroine sees the self-sacrifice as striking a blow for women's rights in an increasingly patriarchal Athens. However, her plans for death are upset when she becomes involved with a young girl and her sponge-diver father. Molinaro alternates passages from the poet's diary with lengthy disquisitions on Greek culture, from moon worship to medicine, revealing repeatedly how the female aspects of that culture have dropped from our view. These veritable footnotes lend the diary a historical context that in turn gives considerable resonance to the book's surprisingly downbeat ending. Molinaro shifts from a wry, bemused tone to one of melancholy, suggesting the irreconcilable nature of the male/female conflict that is at the center of the story and of the history that Molinaro recounts. (July)
Reviewed on: 09/06/1993
Release date: 09/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-0-7043-5057-1
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