No One But Us

Gregory Spatz, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $17.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-56512-037-2
A promising debut novel, this is a coolly detached first-person tale of forbidden love, family breakdown and growing up. In 1970s suburban Connecticut, 15-year-old Charlie stumbles into a torrid sexual affair with 26-year-old Jolene, his mother Mary's close friend and drinking partner, while Mary is in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt. Sensitive, virginal Charlie, whose father deserted the family when he was five, enjoys the affair until Jolene abruptly ends it and vanishes without a trace. Five years later, Charlie, now a Philadelphia-area sales clerk, gets word from his mother that Jolene has moved to San Francisco to explore her new lesbian identity. Charlie, accompanied by his girlfriend Angel, an insightful college dropout, embarks on a cross-country trip to confront Jolene--to sort out the pent-up guilt that has warped his relationships with his mother and his friends. Fresh revelations about Jolene and Mary, and seismic shifts in Charlie's romance with Angel, keep things eventful. Although Spatz plays familiar riffs on moral drift, his story engages the reader with the compelling parallel voyages of self-discovery undertaken not just by the moody protagonist but also by Jolene, Angel and Mary, three fully drawn women on very different paths. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/1995
Release date: 01/01/1995
Hardcover - 978-1-56512-135-5
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