Lia Nirgad, Author . Overlook $23.95 (188p) ISBN 978-1-58567-313-1

Layla is bored with her lot as a suburban housewife in this modern-day parable set in an unnamed city. Though she loves her three daughters, she longs for a more exotic world free of the indifference and fatigue of her present life. Can a flying scooter, unearthed in her backyard, be the answer to her prayers? This childish novel is fitfully captivating, but the fanciful world Nirgad fashions—in which four sisters (one long dead), elves and bats deluge the protagonist with advice—grows tiresome. Upon discovering the scooter, Layla, a frustrated traveler, neglects her household chores for fantastic jaunts to Prague or Alaska. As might be expected, the thinly drawn supporting cast grows weary of her antics. The author pays homage to every overburdened mother's standard "take me away" fantasy, a worthy plot device, but Layla's well-intentioned husband is predictably painted as a villain for wishing his wife would look to him for happiness. While Nirgad's descriptions of sisterly affection and childhood secrets provide occasional bursts of charm, her prose often shades to precious ("He was just the perfect kind of elf you'd want to have for yourself, perfect as a sunset with champagne"). A stern, unnamed narrator addresses the reader directly, as is common in the parable form, but this particular narrator is distracting, chiding readers at every turn for their presumed disbelief in the story. Though well-intentioned, this feminist fairy tale is more tedious than transporting. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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