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 An ambitious second novel from the author of Montana Women (1991) and winner of a James Michener Fellowship. Annie's husband, Morton, disdains the downscale scene at Jake's, the Butte, Montana, bar that belongs to her father and was her childhood home. Out of a vague sense of discontent and increasing marital dissatisfaction, Annie one day takes Morton to lunch and announces at the restaurant that she no longer is interested in having sex--with him or anyone else. Morton takes the news calmly enough (``All I can say is I'm sorry''), but three months later asks for a divorce, so Annie obligingly sets off with her son, Sammy, to start a new life in Idaho, far from her parents and husband. At the last minute, though, she turns the car around and heads for Missoula, which just happens to be the home of Morton's brother Paul, with whom she lived for three years before inexplicably accepting Morton's sudden marriage proposal. Not long after her arrival, Paul, still very much in love with Annie, shows up on her doorstep; she promptly makes an exception to her rule against sex. Annie's expedition becomes a journey of the soul as she rediscovers her identity and strengthens her connections to her family, her son, her home and herself along the way. Volk has a fine feminist sensibility, but the work is marred by stilted syntax, predictable plot, and thin characterization. Striving too hard for spareness and understatement, she never delves deeply or convincingly enough into the forces that motivate her characters. Disappointing.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1994
ISBN: 1-56947-007-3
Page count: 280pp
Publisher: Soho
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994