BODIES OF WATER by Rosanne Cash


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This tiny first book of stories, with extra-wide margins, is a cut above most celebrity writing, and will even satisfy gossip-seekers with its thinly veiled autobiographical pieces about the pop singer's divorce from Rodney Crowell, her three children, and her own childhood as the daughter of a country music legend. There's a healthy dose of showbiz self-help nostrums and Hollywood mysticism in these often lyrical pieces. To wit, ""The Last Day of the Year"" finds the narrator, by now on the verge of divorce, celebrating New Year's Eve in Manhattan with her children and deciding ""to let go."" ""The Arc of Loneliness"" meditates further on the topic, post-rehab and post-divorce. Other autobiographical tales include a womanist account of childbirth, a memory of taking acting classes, and a self-serving bit about life on the road (""Under the lights I can face the inconsistencies of my soul""). Cash's pure fictional work varies in quality: ""A Week at the Gore"" is a series of faxes from a middle-aged mother of two girls who understands her destiny (as a mother) while on vacation in England with her children. A divorced English teacher traveling in Paris discovers the meaning of womanhood as ""part girl and part suffering."" Another female narrator (in the fabulistic ""Shelly's Voices"") flirts with insanity and dreams of previous lives and deaths. And in the best piece, ""Dinner,"" a woman of authority and in control, who's braced herself against surprise, is unhinged by the sight of a bleeding stranger. Occasionally sappy, but sometimes sharp and tough-minded (in a showbiz way): likely to be of interest to fans of the singer and Marianne Williamson.

Pub Date: March 21st, 1996
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Hyperion