The American Woman in the Chinese Hatby Carole Maso
With passionate abandon and detachment Catherine
Carole Maso's stunning, erotic fourth novel chronicles the dark, irresistible adventures of an American writer named Catherine who has come to France to live. Set into motion by a single act of abandonmentÐCatherine's lover of ten years has left hershe falls deeper and deeper into an irretrievable madness.
With passionate abandon and detachment Catherine pursues her own destruction. Forcing the boundaries of identity and the limits of her eroticism, she enters a series of blinding sexual encounters with a poet, a fascist, a young Arlesian woman, a fireman, and three thieves. Eerily she splits herself in two so that she is both the one who watches and the one who is watched, creator and creation, author and character, as she observes herself from afar. "And I would like to help her," the one who watches says, "but I can't."
This mesmerizing drama of sex, betrayal, and dissolution is played out against the dazzling backdrop of the beautiful, indifferent Cote d'Azur in summer. Written in a dwindling lexicon with a simple, warped musicality, The American Woman in the Chinese Hat is a dark, uncompromising, seductive work of art.
"Like Maso's AVA, this book may shock the genteel reader, but others will be enthralled. Highly recommended." (Library Journal 2-1-94)
"Shrewd, subtle, unsettling, the artistry of The American Woman in the Chinese Hat lies in the intimacy one feels with the authorthe kind of intimacy that Catherine herself fails to discover but that the story of her doomed consciousness makes possible between reader and writer." (New York Times Book Review 5-15-94)
"Maso chronicles Catherine's disintegration in a prose that is precise and rhythmic. Catherine loses control but Maso never does in this exquisitely calibrated evocation of longing and lust." (Vogue 7-94)
"It's a book that begins and ends in a flash of light, with a clatter of voices all speaking French. In between is silence, a glass of wine, a knife, a dark room and a lot of passion." (Los Angeles Times Book Review 7-31-94)
"Maso's enchanting fourth novel unfolds in a fragmented, poetic prose that is exciting, delicious and lucid." (Publishers Weekly 3-28-94)
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.30(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.56(d)
Meet the Author
Carole Maso, the director of the Creative Writing Department at Brown University, is the author of four novels and a book-length erotic prose poem, all of which have received high critical acclaim. She was the recipient of the 1993 Lannan Literary Fellowship for fiction, as well as numerous other awards. Maso has been profiled in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Poets and Writers, The Village Voice, and others. She splits her time between New York and Providence, Rhode Island.
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