In the Cut
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
, Nov 22, 1996
- New York (N.Y.)
- 272 pages
We hear the wry, brazenly honest voice of an intelligent, self-determined woman living alone in New York City. She's a teacher of writing and a scholar of language in all its eccentricities, its vagaries of meaning and effect. She likes her solitude, when she chooses it; her students, when they don't follow her home; men, when they don't expect her to belong to them. She's as unblinking and acute in her observations about herself as she is about other people. Uncertainty interests her - the wish to be surprised: "I have a...certain incautious adaptability." She has chosen a private, if unsheltered, life, and she is utterly unprepared for the danger that awaits her. In the aftermath of a particularly gruesome murder in her neighborhood, she finds herself in the grip of an unfamiliar, mounting terror. She propels herself into a risky sexual liaison, as if to test the limits of her own safety, her knowledge of the world, and her ability to interpret it - both its language and its unspoken signs. But as her fears and passions grow, she is increasingly wary not only of this one man but of every man with whom she has contact. It becomes clear that her passion, once a way of gaining control over chaos, is, instead, chaos itself. And by the time a second murder occurs, her darkest suspicions already may have been overwhelmed by the darker desires she has discovered in herself.