Daphne

Will Boast. Liveright, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-63149-303-4
Boast’s supple debut novel plays with the myth of Daphne, placing a version of the Greek nymph into contemporary San Francisco. Rather than transforming into a tree, the title character suffers a condition that leaves her literally paralyzed whenever she feels strong emotion, able to think and feel but unable to support or move her body. She is pursued by construction worker Ollie, a down-to-earth Apollo, and their love affair suffers predictable complications. Though the romance plot prunes the novel into a restricted shape, and late revelations about the heroine’s father offer too-pat explanations for some of her experiences, memoirist Boast (Epilogue) precisely depicts Daphne’s emotional states, with brief, sensorily rich passages when she is on the brink of overload, and more relaxed, mundane ones when she is comfortably at her computer or engaging in less charged relationships. While Ollie may be a standard-issue hero, Boast surrounds Daphne with a full range of other friends, relatives, and medical research coworkers, including an anxious mother, a partying best friend, and the various members of the support group for those who share her malady. The novel offers a striking metaphor for the ways emotion is experienced in the body. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 02/01/2018
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-002-6
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