THE HARBOR MOUSE by Hannah Timeh


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A rather startling foray into bizarre fiction by the widow of theologian Paul Tillieh and author of two memoirs. Tillich's narrative style is as cool and unnervingly ominous as a serpent's egg, within which all hell breaks loose: a cast of grotesques, erotic low-jinks, and a parade of monster obsessions. The ""harbor mouse"" is a sea-going waif, named ""Juliet"" by her saviors--brothers Edward and Duke. Wealthy Duke is married to steamy Teresa, who, before her wedding, was infatuated with a miller's boy and demanded hands-on instruction in sex from a terrified priest. But Duke and Teresa make a glittering, fertile pair--served by Edward and Juliet--and things go swimmingly till Duke and Teresa's children die in an accident. Then Duke and that priest perish in a train wreck, and Juliet's child by Duke dies, while Teresa acquires mountains of fat, thrilling Edward, who is kinky for freaks. (Teresa's poundage is a reflection of her ""increase of spiritual power."") After marriage to Edward, Teresa will die appropriately--an operatic end achieved while rehearsing for her funeral as she expires in her glass coffin with a ""train whistle screech."" Also buffed in this curious morality is the author's view of love--sacred and shared, or profane and self-consuming. Highly creepy.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1978
Publisher: Stein & Day