Tuesday, March 8, 2016

After Delores by Sarah Schulman

I've been going through old copies of Womonspace News for a Canadian lesbian history project. That's where I found this review that I wrote 23 years ago. It brought up a lot of memories: a previous romantic relationship, my younger self, my early attempts at book reviewing, and lesbian life in Alberta a quarter-century ago.

After Delores, Sarah Schulman. Dutton, NY, 1988. (The following review first appeared in the May/June 1993 edition of Womonspace News in Edmonton.)

I thought this book was great. My partner hated it. 

If you get depressed reading about people who are down in their luck, stay away. On the other hand, if you enjoy reading about emotion, you'll find heaps of it among the working class poor of Lower East Side New York City. This is a side of lesbian life I've not often seen in fiction. It is written with warmth and acute perception.

Delores abruptly leaves the central character for another woman, and this story tells the aftermath. We feel her intense grief, her longing for revenge and her undying obsession for Delores. We never learn the name of the woman who suffers and tells this tale, but we're intimate with her bewilderment, her pain, and her struggle to regain balance in her life. She gets caught up in thrilling events which carry the plot quickly along to a satisfactory end.

I'm looking forward to reading Sarah Schulman's newest book, Empathy.


I reread After Delores when Arsenal Pulp Press released a new edition of it in 2013. It's a fantastic novel - dark and funny. I'm a huge fan of Sarah Schulman and I think I've read all of her books, including Empathy, which I've read at least twice since mentioning it at the end of this review. Originally published in 1992, Empathy was rereleased in 2006 as a Little Sisters Classic by Arsenal Pulp. Hooray for Arsenal Pulp!

No comments: