FLICK by Wendy Kesselman


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An arrestingly impressionistic portrait of 14-year-old Nana's fascination with Felice, or Flick--a beautiful older girl with a magnetic appeal and a laugh ""so bewitching and so cruel."" ""Everything she did had an unearthly grace. . . . And she always won."" Flick is first introduced via a photograph; there is another photo later of the two girls hand in hand at the water's edge during their most intimate time together; and the novel is marked by rapt moments seen as if in freeze-frame: coming upon three wild mares at the school's horse camp in Wyoming; where all the girls are in love with half-Indian wrangler Sam; sitting with Flick in the closed-in berth on the train back home, where Nana has been singled out to hear of Flick's secret meetings with Sam; running with Flick on the dunes at Nana's family's summer place at Turtle Beach; or, back at school in the city after Flick has dropped her, coming upon her in the cloakroom, ""standing in front of the mirror, combing her hair."" Kesselman also makes use of the fuzzy fadeout in the bedroom scenes between the girls at Turtle Beach. . . after that first night when Nana feels the sexual tension between them as a silence in the room, creeping toward her bed and over her body, pressing down like a great weight. In such separate, softly spotlit scenes, shaded by the different milieux and marginal characters that frame their relationships, and marred just a momentary bit by Flick's too-explicit self-justification in a good-bye visit, Kesselman creates a sharp and affecting picture of Nana's attraction and the spellbinding, unyielding presence of Flick.

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1983
Publisher: Harper & Row