Lisa Schwarzbaum
October 10, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Winner of the National Book Award

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jincy Willett
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A

What a great, ballsy gal’s holler of a voice Willett’s got; what a funny, smart-mouthed, fearless, reverberating rumble of a tale this novel is! (And what a howdy-do of a title!) In Dorcas Mather, an acerbic, middle-aged spinster from dead-end, fictional Frome, R.I., and her fat, slutty twin sister, Abigail, Willett has created one of the zingiest yin-yangs of womankind since Scarlett O’Hara put up with Melanie. And in Conrad Lowe, the pitiless creep who comes between them, as well as in Conrad’s preening art-world friends Guy and Hilda De Vilbiss, the author mows down worlds of artistic and psychological twaddle with killer sprays of language. Willett is effortlessly, furiously funny — but she’s also passionately serious about defending human dignity against all the denting hooey thrown at it daily.

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