Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyLulu, a 21-year-old self-described nonentity (``I'm very much of a dunce,'' she says, ``and don't have anything to say about anything''), is the unlikely centerpiece of Kennedy's intriguing fifth novel. An easy target for emotional manipulation, she lives in a factory-town tenement, works at Woolworth's and says her prayers every night. Soon attractive but eerie Mr. Rafferty whisks her away to serve his wealthy friend, the widow Julia Gansevoort. Julia pampers Lulu and dresses her in the lavish wardrobe of her own dead daughter, while showing only disdain for her niece and nephew. Julia further exploits Lulu in evil ways, and when Lulu awakens to what is happening, she cannot avert tragedy. The quirky third-person narrative can be so cryptic that even characters in the novel comment on it. ``Tell me,'' someone asks Lulu, ``is something peculiar going on around here?'' Lulu, the ultimate mystery, does not respond, but a reader will be quick to answer in the affirmative. (March)
Library JournalWhen she is befriended by Mrs. Julia Gansevoort, solitary, 21-year-old Lulu Peloquin, a French-Canadian salesperson at F. W. Woolworth's candy counter, becomes a pawn in a vicious game of psychological manipulation and pre-ordained malevolence. Author Kennedy's malignant atmosphere depends less on action than on complex character delineation. Slowly, Lulu is drawn into a web of relationships with people who are not what they seem. Kennedy effectively delineates Lulu's re-creation in an alien image among new ``friends'' who view life as an ``insidious game,'' a ``contest'' in which the loser is destroyed. Recommended.Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Md.
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