Books by Mylène Dressler

THE FLOODMAKERS by Mylène Dressler
Released: March 22, 2004

"Somewhat stagy in its composition, with a heavily dialogue-driven narrative, but the baroque Tennessee Williams flavor rescues the plot from its own melodramas."
Third novel from Dressler (The Deadwood Beetle, 2001, etc.), a portrait of domestic angst set in a Texas beach house during a family reunion. Read full book review >
THE DEADWOOD BEETLE by Mylène Dressler
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"An elegant but lifeless stories held prisoner by an idea—in this case, the long shadow cast by the war."
A finely crafted if emotionally cool exploration of a legacy of wartime guilt, a burden lifted only when a retired Dutch-born entomologist meets an antique dealer with her own sorrows. Read full book review >
THE MEDUSA TREE by Mylène Dressler
Released: May 19, 1997

First-novelist Dressler tells a largely formulaic tale of a Dutch-Indonesian woman making a new life in California after surviving WW II. When the narrator, twentysomething Marget, a dancer, comes to help out while Gerda, one of her two grandmothers, has knee surgery, she's not entirely motivated by family piety. She's pregnant, the affair with the baby's father is over, and, as is usual in the genre, there are matters of family history to be resolved. Admitting that she comes from a family who ``don't like to name things. . . [who] prefer to keep them folded away in shut drawers,'' Marget soon alerts us to upcoming revelations. Fan and Gerda, her grandmothers, are of mixed Dutch and Indonesian blood, born in Indonesia when it was still a Dutch colony. Only Fan, in actuality, is Marget's blood relative. When the Japanese occupied Indonesia, Gerda, a champion tennis player and the widow of a wealthy businessman, rescued Fan and her baby daughter, Marget's mother, and kept them out of the internment camps by playing tennis for the Japanese. When the Japanese retreated and civil war broke out, Gerda and Fan—by then lovers—and the baby fled first to Singapore, then to Holland. Fan's husband, who'd been a prisoner of war, divorced her, and then the trio immigrated to California. In the days leading up to Gerda's operation, Marget has ample time to reflect on her family's history, to observe how the women have aged, and to ponder her own situation, which she has kept secret from the family. The operation is a success, and she learns a few family secrets from an aunt that only deepen her love for Fan. Armed with the obligatory empowering insight (``the past sometimes makes an answer in the future''), Marget is now ready to have her baby. Luminous prose isn't enough to spark a low-watt story. Read full book review >