S: Semaines de Suzanne

Harry Mathews, Author, Olivier Rolin, With, Florence Delay, With Brookline Books $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-57129-043-4
Suzanne (aka Susie, Suze, Anna) is a wanted woman--wanted, that is, by men from Belgium to Cuba in these seven fast-paced vignettes from seven authors. Each chronicles another moment in the sly, petite brunette's eventful life, including her careers as thug, litterateuse and seductress, her religious crisis and a near-death experience as she drifts from country to country, year to year. She comes to life most vividly in Deville's ""Hocus-Pocus"" (the account of 13-year-old Susie's digital deflowering at the hands of a down-and-out magician) and in Mathews's (The Conversions; Cigarettes) encrypted tale of unrequited conjugal love, ""The Quevedo Cipher."" These disjointed fragments of a life story differ enough in tone and focus that, together, they tell less about Suzanne than about the varieties of passion she inspires. Why she inspires it is something of a mystery. A string of stock descriptions ( ""Her large eyes were blue and pleading"" etc.) and comparisons to Bonnie Parker make Suzanne seem only the latest in a long line of boilerplate femmes fatales bred and raised by cliche: she's beautiful, ruthless, tight-lipped about her past. But this kaleidoscopic chronicle has its own heady appeal, and the abrupt shifts in voice and style, its very disjointedness, may be the only way to communicate the unhinging effect of a woman who lives so completely in the shadow of her own sex appeal. (Sept.) FYI: S. was published in French in 1991 by Les Editions de Minuit.
Reviewed on: 08/02/1999
Release date: 07/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
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