Sunday, February 04, 2007

Other Women

from the diary: “Saturday 3/22/86

“I started Lisa Alther’s third novel yesterday. Other Women. Finished it today. About a woman trapped in depression and the therapist who helps drag her from the ‘Dismal Swamp.’ I got engaged with the characters and was never bored. But the therapy sessions didn’t ring any bells and I couldn’t altogether relate to Caroline’s depression. I guess I got a different type. Just having my shitty patterns pointed out to me doesn’t help, the way it did for her.”

I'd read Lisa Alther's Kin Flicks (I thought the sex scenes hilarious), and I liked her second novel, Original Sins. Nothing in the bio at her website mentions Alther's sexual orientation, but one may suspect she's lesbian being that there are prominent sympathetic lesbian characters in each of her novels. In an interview she gets this question:

"Do you think people now tend to think of you as a lesbian novelist?

LA: I don't know what people think. I would imagine probably by now that's the conclusion some people are drawing, yeah.
"

Well, that's not exactly a "Yep, I'm gay" moment.

Alther elaborates:

"I was fortunate to have KINFLICKS be a best-seller. It meant what I wrote after that would be published even if it did have lesbians in it [laughs]. ... In OTHER WOMEN, I was writing about lesbians as people who love women but who also have this whole full life of paying their mortgages and raising their children. One aspect of their lives is that their partner is a woman. I've been a wife and mother, so I've done it all, so to speak." [I guess that's as close as she gets to coming out.] "Again, for centuries we've had to read about the heterosexual view of the world. Homosexuals can read heterosexual books and appreciate them, and I don't see why the opposite can't be true. [One] thing about writing about lesbians is that it's exciting to do because it's an area that hasn't been dealt with. And when it has been, it's had to be concealed in various ways. So to be in a position to be able to write openly about it is very challenging -- and not just about lesbians but about women in general."