LEAVE IT TO ME by Bharati Mukherjee


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 Mukherjee (The Holder of the World, 1993, etc.) probes the origins of violence and the nature of identity in this grim tale of a young woman whose need to know her past leaves corpses from Sarasota to Sausalito. Debby DiMartino grows up in Schenectady thinking herself no different from her adopted family, until after college, when her telemarketing skills suddenly earn her the attention of her Asian boss. Debby's thirst for his knowledge of the Far East after becoming his lover forces them both to realize that she is more than she appears--an understanding that's borne out when he dumps her and, furious, she burns down his Sarasota mansion. Desperate to find out more about the impulses behind her lethal behavior, which she believes must lie in her past, Debby flees. Knowing only that her real mother was a flower child from Fresno and that she gave birth in India, she heads west. Ending up in San Francisco, she quickly changes her name to Devi and slips easily into that city's street culture. An encounter with a well-connected movie-location Romeo, also a `60s type, allows her to make fast progress in her quest. His friend, a detective, gives her enough information to zero in on ``Bio-Mom,'' who proves to be a lover of both the movie guy and the p.i., but the news about Dad is all bad: An Asian serial strangler, locked up in an Indian prison for life after Mom turned him in, he is thought to have recently died. When Devi starts working for her unsuspecting mother's escort service, things turn violent with a vengeance. The detective is murdered, a crazy Vietnam vet turned Devi-devotee kills two women who get in his way, and then Dad shows up dressed in drag and ready for revenge. The earth literally trembles as the killing escalates. The mythic overtones keep this bloody saga engaging as its Electra proves worthy of the zeitgeist that created her.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1997
ISBN: 0-679-43427-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1997


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