cover image Women on Women 2: An Anthology of American Lesbian Short Fiction

Women on Women 2: An Anthology of American Lesbian Short Fiction

. Plume Books, $12.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-452-26999-6

Immediately setting its tone with two stories published during the second decade of this century, this anthology of short fiction by lesbians proves that the struggle for sexual freedom is more than a contemporary issue. ``The thought of the strange man who was to come Friday to marry Rachel stirred in Cynthia jealous wonder,'' writes Helen Hull in 1918. And Edith Konecky's story, set in 1952, presents a protagonist whose confusion about her sexual identity drives her to a nervous breakdown, only to have her love for women trivialized by a male psychiatrist. This grouping of mostly unfamiliar writers is arranged to show the widest diversity possible in lesbian perspectives. Michelle Cliff's story about a father and daughter visiting family in Jamaica avoids any mention of sexual preference or sexuality; Jacqueline Woodson's protagonist spars with a mother who denies that her children were molested by her lover; Cass Nevada contributes a satire about lesbian relationships that revolve solely around television; erotic and explicit sex is evident in pieces such as Mary Wings's story about buying sexual objects for a girlfriend who is having a hard time reaching climax. While some pieces (like Konecky's and Nevada's) are superbly crafted, others, such as Carolyn Weathers's story about a young lesbian befriending an elderly neighbor, read more like slightly fictionalized memoir. (June)