Palm Latitudes (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
In the opening pages of Kate Braverman’s first novel, Lithium for Medea (1979), it became clear that the young woman narrator had never been able to handle her feelings for her mother, a successful executive, or for her father, whose first bout with cancer during her childhood had destroyed her sense of security, and who, as the novel began, was rapidly approaching death from a second attack. Critics had difficulty finding sympathy for the self-pitying narrator, who had first married and supported an impotent perpetual student, then subsided into drugged indolence as the puppet of a sadistic lover. Instead, they praised the characters of the parents; even if they were not meant to be sympathetic, they were. Unlike their whining daughter, the parents rose to the occasion, as they had always done. The father suffered gamely and died without whimpering. The mother, even though divorced, supported him with her strength.
In Palm Latitudes, once again Braverman has produced very real characters, but this second novel benefits from the absence of a self-indulgent narrator who is marooned in a late adolescence. Instead, the story of life in the East Los Angeles barrio is told from the vantage point of three women, each of whom represents a different female role but all of whom have difficulties with men.
The title of the novel suggests that the environment of the three central characters is not limited to Flores Street in East Los...
(The entire section is 1988 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
California. XIII, August, 1988, p. 106.
Chicago Tribune. July 10, 1988, XIV, p. 6.
Kirkus Reviews. LVI, April 1, 1988, p. 471.
Library Journal. CXIII, June 1, 1988, p. 138.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. August 7, 1988, p. 2.
The New York Times Book Review. XCIII, August 21, 1988, p. 22.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXIII, April 29, 1988, p. 64.
San Francisco Chronicle. July 3, 1988, p. REV3.
(The entire section is 46 words.)