131 Euclid Avenue, Kenmore, NY 14217
9781609642013, $18.00, 309pp, www.amazon.com
Poet/novelist Larissa Shmailo's latest offering, Patient Women, is a raw, unfaltering, fictional story (heavily peppered, no doubt, with the author's own personal anecdotes) that follows the tumultuous life of one highly likeable Nora Nader - a self-deprecating heroine with an indelible edge.
Nora, the daughter of an overbearing mother and an emotionally detached father; both Nazi prison camp survivors, is determined to assert herself and make her way through the world according to her own rules and regulations. Her whirlwind journey begins in 1970's Queens, NY, where Nora, at the tender age of 12, leaves home and takes to the inhospitable streets of NYC.
While battling a plethora of personal demons, including; sex, drug, and alcohol addiction, as well as severe depression ("I'm never happy. I always feel like Auschwitz inside"), we watch in horror as our protagonist devolves from Ivy League student, to waitress, to prostitute ("The best blow job in NY").
Both physical and emotional abuse is prevalent throughout the course of Nora's life, and slowly but surely long-buried secrets are unearthed.
With unrelenting determination, and a little help from her friends (specifically, a drop dead gorgeous drag queen turned AA sponsor named Chrisis, who assures Nora, in regards to sobriety/recovery, "If I can do this, anybody can.") Nora finds herself capable of both physical and spiritual ascent.
At moments painstakingly heart-wrenching, at others, hopefully poetic, Patient Women is ultimately an in-your-face tale about the resilience of the human spirit, in the midst of familial and societal discord, and the ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.
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Laura Madeline Wiseman has a wonderful interview series at The Chapbook Interview. Below are a few interviews with BlazeVOX authors. I am sure you will be as pleased as I am in reading these. Do check outher fist BlazeVOX book, Drink. Her latest book, AN APPARENTLY IMPOSSIBLE ADVENTURE will be out very soon! Hurray on her and enjoy thee interviews!
Michael Boughn reviews KA 21st Century Canzoniere by I Goldfarb
Eileen Tabios engages FLUTES AND TOMATOES: A MEMOIR WITH POEMS and The Color Symphonies, both by Wade Stevenson
Eileen Tabios engages COMPOS(T) MENTIS by Aaron Apps
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