Bette Pesetsky Barbara Koenig Quart - Essay

Barbara Koenig Quart

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In Bette Pesetsky's awkwardly titled but inventive novel, Author From a Savage People, women are the "savage people" and the heroine, May Alto, is the "author," a much put-upon ghostwriter…. [Its] central emotion is its heroine's intense ambition, her anger and the pleasure she takes in wreaking vengeance, in feeling powerful for a change. May is an uncredited "helper": to her many clients; to her two former husbands, who used her and deceived her, one shamelessly continuing to do so; to her three children. (p. 738)

May is guided throughout by advice (often banal) from her mother and aunt, both long dead—a nice fictional equivalent of the mother-mentor voice we carry in our heads…. May's...

(The entire section is 420 words.)