Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
June 28, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Nectar

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Lily Prior
publisher
Ecco Press
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Prior is a great joke teller. She understands pacing, characters, and the power of a perfectly delivered punchline, which makes Nectar one of the more delightful reads of the summer. Her creation, Ramona Drottoveo, is an uncouth, sociopathic albino who happens to emanate an aroma that drives men mad. When the superstitious workers at an Italian estate where Ramona is employed as a maid become convinced that her hussy ways have resulted in a curse, Ramona and her bedraggled husband flee to Naples, where she dementedly dreams of being an opera star. It might have been tempting to make Nectar a fable about greed and desire, but Prior is having far too much fun to let such moral heft ruin her riotous tale.

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