A/K/A by Ruthann Robson

A/K/A

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An occasionally bizarre tale from Robson (Another Mother, 1995, etc.), this about two lesbians who have assumed so many personal and professional disguises that they've forgotten who they really are. Margaret Smyth and BJ meet each other outside a professor's office but, blinded by defensiveness and fear, find it difficult to explore the sparks of sympathy between them. Margaret is on the verge of getting her law degree; by doing so, she hopes to transcend a traumatic past in foster homes, forget the early death of her lover, Dominique, and escape a complicated secret life as a lesbian prostitute. In that still on-going life, she assumes a different persona for each of her clients, managing to become whatever is required of her. For the unhappily married Ann-Marie, she provides sexual fulfillment; for unattractive Patty, she's a bleached-blond, big-breasted ""gorgeous"" date her mean-spirited cousin can lust after at his wedding; she's also a cover for disturbed Jeanine, a heterosexual woman molested as a child who now masquerades as a lesbian to keep her job with a gay organization. BJ's story is somewhat more conventional: She's a soap opera star who has many lesbian viewers but whose attempt to out herself in a fan magazine has been suppressed by the editors. BJ lives with her lover, Lenore, with whom she's raised Lenore's son, Malcolm. But Lenore, whose father married three women named Lenore and gave the name to all of his daughters, has her own serious grapplings with identity, actually suffering from bouts of insanity; when Malcolm's sperm donor shows up, Lenore runs off with him, leaving BJ worried about whether she'll be able to keep custody of Malcolm. Both BJ and Margaret yearn for solidity and connection, but their outward differences keep them apart through much of the story, even as their lives inch closer to crisis. A potentially intriguing meditation on lesbian identity, but episodic and too gratuitously weird to have much impact.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1997
ISBN: 0312292198
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: St. Martin's