Mercy

Andrea Dworkin, Author Four Walls Eight Windows $22 (344p) ISBN 978-0-941423-69-4
In her nonfiction books ( Letters from a War Zone ) and her first novel ( Ice and Fire ) Dworkin established a reputation as a provocative writer of feminist literature. She gives her own name to the protagonist/narrator of this powerful, almost frenzied, admittedly autobiographical novel that chronicles her life and sexual victimization. ``Andrea'' gets her first taste of sex at age nine when she is molested in a movie theater. A rebellious teenager, she hangs out in Greenwich Village, idolizes Allen Ginsberg and is swept up into the peace movement. Penniless, streetwise but not street-smart, Andrea is continually and brutally raped by lovers, acquaintances, strangers. The novel's unparagraphed prose--like Andrea, intense, jumpy, impassioned--brilliantly captures the narrator's mental and physical degradation. As her life disintegrates, she repeats three facts--her name, her place of birth and the poet Walt Whitman's address in Camden, N.J., on a street where she was born--as a mantra anchoring her to reality. The most sexually graphic and horrifying scenes involve her marriage to a European revolutionary who abuses and burns her as she desperately tries to be a good bourgeois housewife. It is no wonder that the novel's ending finds Andrea committed to the women's movement. While Andrea's high-pitched voice is at first hard to take, its vehemence and candor build to a convincing indictment of a society that tolerates violence against women. 25,000 first printing; author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-941423-88-5
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