Margot Mifflin
December 06, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Late Night Muse

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Bette Pesetsky
publisher
HarperCollins
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

A grim yet oddly compelling novel by the author of Confessions of a Bad Girl, The Late Night Muse describes a woman’s effort to catalog her life as she surrenders to a fatal disease. A poet, wife, and mother, Bernadette Marrkey’s worst fear is to die unrecognized, so she inventories her quirky history, using poems as milestones, to create an artwork for posterity. ”Some people say that life makes the artist,” she writes. ”Others say that the artist makes the life.” Having lived through her poetry, Marrkey believes the latter. This is not Pesetsky’s best book — its echoes of Sylvia Plath ring false — but her crystalline prose and likable characters are hard to resist. B

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