BYE-BYE by Jane Ransom

BYE-BYE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Often grim, sometimes droll debut (winner of the 1996 New York University Press Prize for Fiction) by poet Ransom. The bisexual narrator can't forget her ruthlessly intelligent mother, whom she helped die with a morphine overdose, and can't escape the ambiance of her ex-husband, who divorced her for infidelity. She also has a schizo brother who thinks he's God, and an alcoholic father she hasn't seen in 18 years. Her fallback is My Lover, a woman who photographs lesbians for the slicks. In a last- ditch attempt to escape her many entanglements and seize control of her life, the narrator changes her identity (becoming Rose Ann Waldin), dyes her hair red, gets a new Social Security number and driver's license, moves, lets no one know who or where she is, and lives off her inheritance. Her loathsome new apartment is decorated with grungy sub-Disney paintings by top serial-murderer John Wayne Gacy--who sold his works by mail before he was executed. New acquaintances or lovers include Personal Ad, an icy high-toned lesbian with a psychology degree (``How do you feel right now?'') whom ``Rose Ann'' meets through a personals ad, and The Bartender, a blithe male lover. Rosie is obsessed by a mysterious performance artist known only as Andorgenie, an androgyne who appears every few months with a new identity, male or female, then discards it. Who or what Andorgenie is, no one knows. Not much happens as Rosie agonizes and flits between lovers, though the admittedly fairly bizarre waiting time has amusing moments: ``While returning the waiter's stare, I had blinked, which My Lover probably mistook for a wink because my Maybelline Extra-Thick Marathon Mascara eyelashes momentarily stuck together.'' The climax: Rosie pulls off her own performance artistry as a bloodsoaked murderess. More flash than fun.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1997
ISBN: 0-8147-7490-3
Page count: 187pp
Publisher: New York Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997