Even if the author shaved off ""eight kilos, 750 grams"" and reduced this substantially, the Storyville story hour is still long, presented as a ""Victorian"" novel with some self-serving seriousness in the introduction, and filled in with little insets on Evil which exists only outside the ultimately unhinged mind of our heroine meeting the fate that is worse than death in the world's oldest profession. Poor Fanny, another Fanny, a policeman's daughter whose father branded her early on -- born to be a whore like her mother. She stabs herself and may not live on page 116; unfortunately she does for some four or five hundred more, always somewhat in love with the Creole doctor Philippe who brings her flowers and saves her life. Passionately fulfilled if unwed months later, she's sent to a school for young ladies, becomes pregnant, and then stops ""being human"" as a short-timer in a parlor where her father dies in her arms while Philippe marries another and leaves her to his elderly uncle-in-law who never quite takes her on the faith she so innocently offers. . . . If Mr. Yerby were not so insistent that this is a Victorian novel, one might overlook the questionably modern vulgate -- ""baby"" and ""doll""; and anyone unimpressed if not bemused by the FACTS (24 novels, 21,000,000 copies) will wonder who the hell those ""thoughtful"" readers are who will ""realize that Fanny's sexual activities [have not been] employed to titillate, or shock, or even as a commercial device, but simply as symbolic markers."" As symbolic as the mother-naked odalisque who wafts off the jacket?