Fulfilling the promise of her first novel, Meeting Rozzy Halfway (1981), Leavitt again penetrates the ozone layer of a...



Fulfilling the promise of her first novel, Meeting Rozzy Halfway (1981), Leavitt again penetrates the ozone layer of a fractured personality's asocial reality--in a story of a mother and daughter confronting both ""ordinary"" and special worlds. Duse is a psychic; she grew up in Chicago, unwittingly raised to isolation (her photographer father never took her picture); she ""never knew what would claim her, what wouldn't let her alone."" So, drifting into her strange vocation (via a laconic fortuneteller's lessons in palm reading), Duse meets her ""destiny"" in white-scarfed Martin Michaels, a Wisconsin dentist with an impressive ""passion line."" Duse becomes pregnant, Martin instantly proposes--but their daughter isn't named at birth, isn't named for a month. . . not until Duse sees a photo of a certain dancer wrapped (like Martin) in a scarf. The child, then, is called Isadora. And she will have a wonderful Oz childhood of rainbow possibilities, with Duse ""riding the air around her"" as she reads palms hungrily. . . including Isadora's. Duse sees, in fact, a miraculous star in Isadora's palm--sure sign of a great ""gift""; and Isadora, eased through teenager social-life by father Martin (who's partial to hypnotism), grows up cossetted, dotingly mirrored (there's a gallery of her photographs), granted a blessed identity. But eventually, of course, Isadora rebels, becoming uneasy when her mother collects followers and even acquires psychic TV-notoriety in a missing-child case. Why couldn't her mother be ""ordinary""? And is Duse's gift a real one? At college, then, Isadora clings to divorced lover Daniel, yearning for a new identity: ""She wanted to be with him all the time. That was who she was."" But a destiny-like trio of deaths will leave Isadora alone, agonizing toward rebirth, seeing life as flat. . . yet remembering ""how lovely it had been to believe"" in Duse's palmistry, in a ""kid's strange paradise."" With fresh and teasing inquiries into the nature of identity--a brightly appealing, adventurous, and curiously touching exploration.

Pub Date: May 17, 1982


Page Count: -

Publisher: Seaview--dist. by Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1982