In Women Prefer Women (1979) she came out of the closet to trumpets and fanfare; now Elula Perrin, proprietor of the Katmandou cabaret for women in Paris, exploits the melodrama of nine other lesbians' lives--for the most part, lives of shame, regret, discrimination (""You dirty little dyke""), and subjection to men. Their stories are outlined in letters, discussed in interviews, or simply paraphrased by Perrin--and we're not always sure who's speaking. But whether the women are among those who dared (like Perrin) or those who didn't, most of them share a profound and disturbing disrespect for men (men ""fuck,"" women ""go gathering the honey""), and a tendency to romanticize their frequently changing partners. Pathos appears in the form of Madeleine, now 63, who like many of the others married unhappily; though rebuffed by all but one of her lifetime infatuations, she loved women so much that she ""could give birth only to girls""--and then agonized when men carried off all four of them. Hairdresser Dany fared better: stronger and more offhanded than most of her fellow-sufferers, she played ""daddy"" to more than one lover's children. All this boils down to is a succession of conquests, smothered in life-or-death prose: ""She is a gulp of cool water, she is singing crystal, she is vibrant beauty, she is the love of love."" Also lost is any sense of self-definition beyond that of ""lesbian"" or, occasionally, ""woman."" An untidy collection that will add little to the battle for acceptance.