Any Woman's Blues, first published in 1990, is a tale of addiction and narcissism-the twin obsessions of ourage. World-famous folk singer Leila Sand emerged from the sixties and seventies with addictions to drugs and booze. Leila's latest addiction is to a younger man who leaves her sexually ecstatic but emotionally bereft. The orgasmic frenzies trump the betrayals, so she keeps coming back for more.
Eventually, Leila frees herself by learning the rules of love, the Twelve Steps, and the Key to Serenity in an odyssey that takes her from AA meetings to dens of sin, parties with "names" worth dropping, and erotic gondola rides.
Jong ( Fanny ; Serenissima ) has consistently profiled clever and libidinous heroines who engage in series of bold adventures while striving toward self-knowledge and fulfillment. Once again she pens an amusing, picaresque novel that begs readers to take her seriously and appreciate her intellect; the story contains countless literary allusions and knowing references to culture high and low. Readers can also depend on heaping helpings of Jong's trademark approach to sex: superficially humorous yet deadly serious. She also plays Philip Roth-like games with the narrative, prefacing the novel with a mock-scholarly foreward to explain that the text has been pieced together following the death of its author, Isadora Wing, and interlarding the narrative with Socratic dialogues between Isadora and her heroine, a famous painter called Leila Sand. Leila battles addictions to an abusive lover and to alcohol; her fruitless search for "ecstasy, skinlessness" takes her through hellish liaisons and sadomasochistic encounters. Salvation comes in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous and the kindness of friends. The result verges on self-parody. As Fear of Flying was of and for the '70s, this book is clearly intended to address women's issues of the '90s. But somewhere along the way Jong has become less astute an observer of the times and more a self-obsessed chronicler. 75,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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December 27, 2006
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