GIVE MY HEART EASE by Grace Andreacchi


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A graphic but surprisingly moving first novel about a beautiful young woman caught up in a sadomasochistic love affair. Narrator Justine (cf. de Sade) Remarque is a 20-year-old American touring Europe with a ballet company when she meets Roy Sterner, an older philosophy teacher at Oxford. Their passion is instantaneous and violent: ""He kissed me really savagely, knocking my teeth together. I felt blood trickle into my mouth, but I wasn't sure whose."" After she becomes pregnant (Roy has burned her diaphram), Justine marries him, and the two settle down to a life of routine abuse--reminiscent, on a milder scale, of the goings-on in Seven Days. But by the time Roy takes up a teaching post at Harvard (and their son, Addie, is born), Justine is tiring of her husband's relentless and single-minded sadism. So, to punish her further, he simply stops having sex with her at all. This state of affairs lasts for nearly tour years, until a visit to the West Indies, when Justine--true to form--falls in love with a black charter-boat captain/dope-dealer named Moses, becomes pregnant by him, and leaves both Addle and Roy. But a few months with the callous Moses (he has a bad habit of selling her to his friends) is enough to make Justine long for Roy's tenderer mercies, and soon she returns to Harvard and husband. Andreacchi never really explains Justine's obsession with either Roy or rough sex, but the power and poetry of her writing make them believable. An unusual and sometimes potent debut.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Permanent