Olympic swimmer Jesse Austin is seduced and consequently edged out for a gold medal by her Australian rival. From there, Anshaw intricately traces three possible paths for Jesse, spinning exhilarating variations on the themes of lost love and parallel lives unlived. Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina, writes, "I found myself wishing I could buy a dozen copies and start a discussion group, just so I'd be able to debate all the questions this astonishing novel provokes." A Reader's Guide is available.
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Carol Anshaw is the author of Aquamarine and Seven Moves, both Lambda Award finalists. She has won the Carl Sandburg Award, the Society of Midland Authors Award, and a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, she reviews books for major newspapers nationwide.From Kirkus Reviews:
For those with a yen for a choose-your-own-adventure novel, Village Voice Literary Supplement contributor Anshaw (author, as Carol White, of They Do It All With Mirrors, 1978) establishes the character of a young Olympic swimmer and then offers three separate versions of her destiny--all of them equally depressing. It was a pivotal moment--the instant before Jesse Austin leapt into the pool at the Mexico City Olympic Games when she looked over at her competitor and lover, Marty Finch, and knew the other girl was going to win the meet. After that moment, and the ones that immediately follow in which Marty is awarded the event's gold medal and Jesse the silver, Jesse's future seems almost irrelevant. Anshaw echoes her character's fundamental indifference by presenting three possible futures in which Jesse's circumstances change--though her deepest relationships (with her withholding mother, with her beloved, sharp-witted godmother, and with various men) remain roughly the same. Whether Jesse falls into the safety of marriage to a hometown man, flees to N.Y.C. to teach literature and set up housekeeping with a female actress, or operates a swimming academy in Florida while raising two children on her own, her thoughts remain on that shining moment in her past--and her obsession with knowing whether Marty Finch, her first love, coldheartedly seduced her to win the gold prevents her from moving on. Anshaw's talent for evoking realistic female relationships and sharp, memorable dialogue is eclipsed by the novel's overcalculated structure, which soon wears thin. Still, the results are intriguing--an imaginative, original work. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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