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Antieau's amorphous debut, having no truck with orthodox novelistic ambitions, takes the form of an extended feminist polemic. Keelie, still healing and unable to talk yet, awakens to the realization that she's a composite of three distinct individuals, surgically fused together. Her head once belonged to drowned Anna, her body is that of poor murdered Bella, while her dancer's legs derive from suicide Lee. Keelie has been created by Victor to be his lover, and she's attended by timid medic Griffin, psychiatrist Hart, and Lilith, Victor's deformed wife. All of these people, as the young woman's experiences unfold, are shown to be related by blood or marriage, through space and time. Indeed, Keelie relives something of the miserable lives and sad deaths of the women whose hybrid she is. But before long she's seized by the death-goddess, Eriskegal, and commanded to remember everything. Soon Keelie recalls a time in the South American rain forests around the advent of Columbus, where she and the others live in idyllic circumstances--until a ship bringing Victor's brutal and domineering father arrives to kill or enslave them all. Later, in a prehistorical matriarchy beset by vicious patriarchal invaders, Keelie must persuade her warrior lover, Victor, to reject his father and his horrific conquests. Finally, as she remembers all the reincarnations of her composites, Keelie becomes Eriskegal. A powerful and impressive statement, with lots of complicated scenarios, relationships, and symbols, though descriptive rather than prescriptive.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0595252680
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: ROC/Penguin