Doty's follow-up to What She ToM Him (1984) and Fly Away Home (1982) is the strange but compelling tale of a woman who...



Doty's follow-up to What She ToM Him (1984) and Fly Away Home (1982) is the strange but compelling tale of a woman who attracts her lovers through the stories she tells--alluring fiction in the urban-gothic tradition, as brilliantly controlled as it is entrancing. For years, Ben Hastings has enjoyed the good life in Manhattan as a top executive and heir to his father's investment firm, with a beautiful wife and house in suburban Long Island. His perfect routine is disrupted, however, the day his father collapses on an upper Manhattan street, suffers a stroke, and winds up in a coma in a hospital bed. While visiting his father, Ben notices the hovering presence of a mysterious white-haired woman and experiences a compelling urge to learn her identity. When he manages to surprise her at his father's bedside, she tells him her name is Dorothea, and then begins the first of a series of dreamy, gothic-style stories whose mystery and wonder draw Ben first to her Manhattan apartment and, eventually, to her bed. So entranced does Ben become by Dorothea's accounts of her peripatetic childhood in New York, Paris, and the English countryside, her decadent, aristocratic parents, and her frequent encounters with death in its many guises that the investment banker begins to neglect both his business and his former, arid life in the suburbs. Even the discovery that Dorothea was his father's longtime mistress--a fact Ben has suspected all along--fails to discourage him from selling the business after the patriarch's death, deserting his wife, and moving into Dorothea's womb-like home. Whether or not the tales she spins are true is beside the point--it's the potency of the storyteller's imagination that holds Ben captive, and the power of letting go is hers alone. Masterful writing that itself enthralls the reader and leaves one wanting more.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1992


Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribners

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1991