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L.C. by Susan Daitch
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Golly was this ever a painful dreary endless read. So why did I bother? Honestly? I don't know. I guess because of what it purported to be about - which is woman's changing (or not changing) 'role' in 'revolutionary' activities L.C. gets involved in the revolutionary of February 1848 in France and her life spirals out of control, ever downward, through a combination of her choices and the limitations on what a woman at that time could do. The premise is that she wrote a journal that ends up the hands of one Willa Rehnfield in the 1930's who 'translates' it in the few days she has it in her hands, in what turns out to be an extremely questionable manner - that is - according to her own view of women in history. Fast forward to the recent past (60's - 80') and now Jane Amme, refugee in hiding from incidents at Berkeley in the late 60's now residing in NYC and working on Rehnfield's papers..... This should be fascinating, right? But it ain't. Daitch can write but she is not a fiction writer, she is an historian, primarily and each sentence unrolls stately and convoluted and utterly maddeningly the same until you want to scream! I could go on and on - there are illuminated moments that get completely lost in the monotony - a comparison of how children's war/cops and robber games/ political unrest/ soldiers and war are on a strange continuum and real/unreal all of them, or each one more real until it becomes unreal..... There is some change from 1848 to 1968, for women, but many of the same frustrations apply. The sexual component of violence for men being one and a dismissal of women's issues as being central to well, anything, to do with what 'really matters'. Jane and her friends have freedom of movement that Lucienne lacked, especially at the end, but then, why the heck didn't they go to America, the dopes? Why Algeria? Ah well, do I regret reading it, not really. The most 'authentic' part of it takes place in Berkeley and it feels to me like Susan Daitch lived some of it, if not at Berkeley then on some campus somewhere. I hate giving a book on which the person clearly worked, researched and wrote with such effort, but alas. ** ( )
1 vote sibyx | Oct 26, 2013 |
I was very disappointed. I gave it 2 stars for trying. I don't think it is well-written, the writing is clunky and I didn't understand the meaning of many of the sentences. Part of the story involves an unseen original translated very differently by 2 very different women but by the time I got to that part of it I didn't care...when you think about such a story you assume that the differences in translation will be telling and reveal truth but I didn't care. Also, the story is supposed to be told in 3 different voices and I don't think they are distinguishable. ( )
2 vote franoscar | Jul 2, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0860687589, Hardcover)

Blending historical fiction with feminist and revolutionary politics, Susan Daitch's first novel is a complex and unique look at the controversial nature of historical representations. This story within a story within a story opens in 1968, with a preface to Dr. Willa Rehnfield's translation of Lucienne Crozier's diary. Although the authenticity of Lucienne's account is uncertain, her diary attests to her involvement in the 1848 revolution in Paris, an illicit love affair, and her eventual exile from France. Midway through Rehnfield's translation, a distinctly modern voice emerges from the footnotes. These notes belong to Dr. Rehnfield's literary executor, Jane Amme - a Berkeley radical on the run for her actions during the student riots of the 1960s - who uncovered the translated diary and became intrigued with the parallels between Lucienne's depictions of revolution and her own experiences. Dissatisfied with Dr. Rehnfield's translation, Jane defiantly rewrites the final outcome of Lucienne's story, reclaiming this forgotten Frenchwoman as a prototype of the modern feminist.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:20 -0400)

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