OUTLANDER: Stories and Essays by Jane Rule

OUTLANDER: Stories and Essays

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The essays in this non-fiction/fiction doubledecker keyed to the lesbian image are short, to the point, admonitory, unabashedly clubby: ""There's the homophobia in ourselves, Adrienne, whether we've known from age eight or only discovered after years of marriage and childbirthing that we love each other. No wonder the homophobia in heterosexual men and women is so outrageous to us. Before we can confront it in them, never mind that's where we got it, we must understand it in ourselves."" The stories stretch a little further, but even here an expectation of implicit understanding of sexual alignment leads to winks, dreamy speculativeness, or ah-hah! jabs: ""If you're a killer dyke into leather, into aggressive visibility, it takes a lot of consciousness-raising along with a basic social conscience to call one of those expensively pant-suited, family-jeweled, narrow-nosed women 'sister'. . . ."" But two stories pierce the parochialism to describe social patterns that have the real touch of pathos and availing heart to them: ""In the Attic of the House"" (an elderly, pre-women's-movement lesbian renting rooms in her house to younger gay women) and ""A Perfectly Nice Man"" (three women, married sequentially to the same man, two of them now lovers of each other). Both stories fence-in history rather than desire, which novelist Rule, at least in short forms, strains toward but rarely captures. Among lesbian writings, though, these are distinctly more worthy of attention than most.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1981
Publisher: Naiad Press (P.O. Box 10543, Tallahassee, FL 32302)