Synonym for Love

Alison Moore, Author Mercury House $19.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-56279-074-5
In short-story writer Moore's (Small Spaces Between Emergencies) first novel, an ungainly narrative structure is more than made up for by striking imagery, passages of dense, passionate writing and scenes of gut-wrenching emotion. In the mid-1970s, young photographer and compulsive wanderer Matty Grover leaves her latest home to spend the summer house-sitting in the Mojave desert. There she forges an edgy friendship with her only neighbor, the artist Della Wolff, a fiercely independent older woman prone to such utterances as ``Family gets in the way. I got rid of mine.'' Though providing material for the novel's satisfying closing scenes, however, the women's relationship isn't the story's core; instead, it acts as a somewhat awkward framework for Matty's painful recollections of her adolescence in the 1960s. Following an emotional logic rather than a strict chronology, Matty faces--possibly for the first time ever--memories of her mother's death and her subsequent abandonment by her father. In addition, she confronts her confusing, often anguished, sexual coming of age. Though common characters and themes link these vivid excursions into Matty's past, each--like a short story--could have stood alone; making this an uneasy hybrid of a short-story collection and a novel, albeit a beautifully written novel that will only enhance Moore's reputation. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-452-27622-2
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