In the beginning there was Tilly: fabulous and free, outrageous and untamable, vulnerable and terrified. As a young woman, she flees home for the hollow neon underworld of Nevada, looking for pure souls and finding nothing but bad habits. Decades later, after eventually drinking herself to the brink of death, her niece shows up on the doorstep of her dusty trailer. Stella has been leading her own life of empty promise in New York City.,p> When her dying grandmother confesses the truth about Tilly, her runaway daughter, Stella decides to give up the vast and penetrating loneliness of the city to find this lost woman the family had never mentioned.
The Gin Closet unravels the strange and powerful intimacy that forms between Tilly and Stella as they move to San Francisco to make a home with Abe, Tilly’s overworked and elusive son, forming a fragile triangle that eventually breaks under its own weight. With Leslie Jamison’s uncanny ear for dialogue and witty, unflinching candor about sex, love and power, The Gin Closet marks the debut of a stunning new talent in fiction.
©2010 Leslie Jamison (P)2010 Phoenix
Jamison's first novel reads like a haunting chain of bluesy love songs (or out-of-love songs, as the case may be). The writing is sharp and brilliant throughout, and the multiple womens' perspectives are all masterfully executed. Readers of literary fiction will be delighted to discover this new voice. I might have preferred to hear this one read by the author, simply because the stories feel so intimate that whether or not they're autobiographical, I think the author's voice could add some texture to them. I did not, however, share the previous reviewer's dislike for the narrator--I thought her voice was believable as each of the novel's narrators, and she did a fine job with the dialogue and pacing.
This book was awful - somewhat pointless, and with too many far-fetched similes in what seemed an annoying attempt at intellectualism that took away from the story instead of enhancing it. Not only were the characters and the book itself unlikable, but the reader was horrible! Monotonous, grating, and often sounded like she had a mouth full of something. There have been very few times in my life I have not finished a book once I've started it, and had I not needed to finish this for a book club, I would have abandoned it... it felt almost like a punishment to get through it.
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