Through the Ivory Gate

Through the Ivory Gate

by Rita Dove
     
 

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A debut novel by the 1987 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. When a woman returns to her Midwestern hometown as an artist-in-residence to teach puppetry to schoolchildren, her homecoming also means dealing with memories of racism, rejected love—and truths about her family. Author readings.

Overview

A debut novel by the 1987 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. When a woman returns to her Midwestern hometown as an artist-in-residence to teach puppetry to schoolchildren, her homecoming also means dealing with memories of racism, rejected love—and truths about her family. Author readings.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her first novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Dove (Grace Notes) covers territory familiar from her poems. Virginia King, a talented young black woman, returns to her hometown of Akron, Ohio, as artist-in-residence at an elementary school. The story moves back and forth between the present, which finds her teaching puppetry to children, and her past, which includes memories of a constricting community and family life and the liberation offered by college and her stint with a communal puppet theater. Poets turned novelists often rely too heavily on lyricism and imagery to sustain them, to the detriment of plot and exposition; Dove, however, leans a little too far in the opposite direction. The narrative is smooth and accomplished, but takes few risks. The climactic love scene, for example, ends in the disappointment of cliche ("When he touched her again their bodies merged into one long, yearning curve, and the sea rose up to meet them''), and the novel's single real surprise, a revelation of incest, is less shocking than puzzling and unprepared for. Virginia seems to gain knowledge — without being deeply changed by it. Dove could have experimented more daringly with her obvious narrative gifts.
Washington Post Book World
Skillfully evokes the mood of a decade when social change seemed not only possible but imminent.... An immensely gifted writer.
Francine Prose
Skillfully evokes the mood of a decade when social change seemed not only possible but imminent…Dove's themes are important: she's an immensely gifted writer.
Washington Post Book World

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679742401
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/1993
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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