POET AS PROTAGONIST: JILL BIALOSKY’S THE DECEPTIONS
Jill Bialosky’s latest novel is driven by a poetic narrator – her ambition, her intelligence, her desire and all that has been repressed. This protagonist will fascinate any reader who has felt marginalized, belittled, and wiped out by patriarchy. THE DECEPTIONS unfolds as a narrative of awakening, an enlightenment on Greek gods and goddesses (including photographs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art), and a literary criticism. The poet is a spouse and mother (a new empty nester), a teacher, the daughter of a sick mother and a mentor to a young literary neighbor. The poet’s world is turned upside down when a more famous guest poet visits the boys’ school where she works. She shares with him her ambitious book manuscript, Sonnet Crowns that Leda and Zeus reinvent. Bialosky’s protagonist converses with Yeats’ Leda and the Swan (which the books begin with) and in many ways also with Maxine Kumin’s Pantoum, With Swan.
I hesitate to say more as the twists and turns lead to an explosive conclusion to THE DECEPTIONS. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Congratulations, Jill! – Denise Duhamel