THE HOUSE OF REAL LOVE by Carla Tomasco

THE HOUSE OF REAL LOVE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A would-be comic tale from first-novelist Tomasco--about a cheating lesbian lover. After 20 years of relative happiness with her lover, oncology specialist Connie, the unnamed narrator--increasingly uneasy about her penchant for having affairs--decides to reform. She asks both her therapist and astrologer for help, but their counsel is too ambivalent to be useful. Yet living in a cave-like house built by a woman architect who had inscribed in the concrete floor of the carport her poignant plaint that she had never known ``real love,'' the narrator feels an additional obligation to make an effort to change, to know ``real love'' herself--an obligation that's reinforced when Connie, learning of her most recent infidelities, throws her out of the house. Moving in with her therapist's family, she decides to dress up as a man, get Connie to like her, and then, in a stunning denouement, reveal her true destiny. The therapist and her family are supportive, and the plan seems to be succeeding. But neither the denouement nor the outcome is quite what the narrator expected. She and Connie are together, but it takes a series of set-piece encounters with a self-help group run by a gay brother and sister; an abortion-seeking straight friend; and an appearance on a tell-all talk show before the narrator can feel ready to commit herself. She's also learned a lot--or what passes here for a lot--about love and life along the way: ``...life is all in your head. It's all in the way you decide to look at things, as simple as that. The mystery is about what it is that makes you decide.'' The effort to be wacky, provocative, and a deep thinker--as well as an exponent of sexual explicitness in lesbian writing-- makes for a strained and pretentious piece of fiction. Some elements of promise, but not many.

Pub Date: June 25th, 1992
ISBN: 0-525-26826-5
Page count: 208pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1992