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In this dark and unfunny novel, Bradfield (Dream of the Wolf, 1990, etc.) writes the ""memoirs"" of a pathetic old woman who tries to gain control of her life by killing her mean and domineering husband. Unfortunately for Emma O'Hallahan, who has already committed the murderous act when the book begins, the cost of her freedom seems to be her sanity, which gradually slips away during the writing of her autobiography. What's the use of shooting your husband with a shotgun and burying him in the backyard, for example, if he keeps on appearing in the house -- in various states of decomposition -- and treating you as abusively as he did when he was alive? No matter how many stakes and bullets Emma puts in him, Marvin will not stay put. In addition to the annoying ghost, Emma also has her snooping neighbor, Mrs. Stansfield, to contend with -- or dispose of. The freshly turned mounds of earth in the backyard multiply, until one day Emma counts four: She knows one is Marvin, one is Mrs. Stansfield, and one is the money from her and Marvin's joint bank account. But what's underneath the fourth? Emma is afraid she may have killed her grandson Teddy, who was coming to pay her a visit, or maybe her new boyfriend, whom she calls Mr. Sullivan (even in their most intimate moments) and was very anxious to get rid of the first time he came over for dinner. Although Emma fills her time by writing in her journal and entertaining the many guests -- alive, dead, and imaginary -- who arrive at her door, she is not fulfilled. She doesn't know how to end her memoirs or what to make of the newly dug fifth hole in the backyard. Could it be for Emma herself?. An imaginative story, but after the initial shock wears off, the comedy dies and Emma becomes merely annoying.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: St. Martin's