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Reviews of Beyond All Desiring (2005)

Review by zabian (2005-09-14)
Is there somebody in your family that almost everyone thinks is strange? After reading this novel, you may never look at that person the same way again.

Sara, the main character of Beyond All Desiring, is in her 80s and now lives alone. The family has put Janice, her niece, in charge of monitoring Sara's activities. Janice thinks Sara is weird and unreasonable and can't imagine her being interested in sex. But as the novel unfolds, we find out what Sara is really like and why. She was sexually active at a young age, married to two very different types of men, had a long-term sexual relationship with a woman and a few other affairs. When she was a child in the Depression, she was poor, and though she eventually had a good job, she lives like she doesn't have much money. Does Sara really have financial problems, or is something else going on here? Thatís another thing her relatives find out.

Though there are many twists and turns in this book's story-line, it's not just the plot that makes it stand out in my mind but also the way the author tells the story and the wonderful depth of the characters. And then there are the passages that remind me of the writing of Alice Hoffman or Isabel Allende, where the line between what we think of as "reality" is crossed briefly, and in a way that we feel is "normal."

Beyond All Desiring is a terrific read, an unusual book about an usual woman.




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