SOLOMON'S KNIFE by Victor Koman


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Second-novelist Koman (The Jehovah Contract, 1987) turns to a potboiler of ideas about transoption, a surgical procedure that allows one woman's fetus to be transferred and carried to term by someone else. When Valerie Dalton gets into the hospital for what she thinks is an abortion, Dr. Evelyn Fletcher sees the opportunity to solve Valerie's problem at the same time she is giving Karen and David Chandler, desperate after years of failed implantations, a child of their own. Since her hospital has never approved transoption, Evelyn keeps the procedure secret. Karen thinks Valerie has approved the operation; Valerie doesn't know Karen exists. But when Karen's newborn daughter Renata needs a bone-marrow transplant that only her genetic mother can provide, Valerie finds out what's happened, her lawyer-lover Ron Czernek launches a fat lawsuit, and transoption goes on trial, attacked both by the religious right (who consider it another violation of divine law) and the feminist left (who see it as one more way to separate procreation from women's choices). All of this makes for lively debate, despite a soggy and predictable conclusion--in which Ron threatens to withhold Valerie's bone marrow unless the Chandlers waive all rights to Renata, and Valerie, appalled by his tactics, drops the suit and is named "co-mother" with Karen. Koman takes the volatile subject of reproductive rights and--albeit with Hollywood-thin characters and Basic English prose--makes it into an exciting page-turner sure to offend readers of all views, adding a polemical conclusion that won't smooth many feathers. Rousing pulp-fiction-cum-social-prophecy.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1989
ISBN: 531-15108-5
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