From the writer whose voice Carolyn See has characterized as one of the strangest, most distinguished in American fiction writing today ("There is really nothing to compare her with, except, maybe, the austere beauty of a Japanese rock garden"), here is a richly dramatic novel about a woman struggling to make peace with herself as a mother, a lover, an artist, and a friend.
Lucy Patterson has just encountered her past in the person of a man whom she has not seen for twenty-five years. Dr. Carlos Cabrera saved the life of her infant son, and it was her love for him that compelled her to end her marriage -- the first moment in an arc of emotional turbulence and upheaval that has since defined her existence. Her past having caught up with her, Lucy has come to an isolated motel in the desert outside Las Vegas to write out her life, reexamine it, and, she hopes, find its calm center. It's a journey she is determined to make alone, but in the next room is a young woman -- a single mother, stripper, and prostitute panicked about her own life -- whom Lucy finds she cannot, and finally does not want to, ignore. A fiercely odd pair, they nonetheless become indispensable to each other in navigating the emotional terrain of their past and in finding, separately and together, clear paths into the future.
A Desert of Pure Feeling is the finest work we have yet seen from a writer whose gifts, at once lyrical and tough-minded, become vividly apparent in this penetrating and compelling story.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Judith Freeman
Judith Freeman is the author of four novels—The Chinchilla Farm, Set for Life, A Desert of Pure Feeling, and Red Water—and of Family Attractions, a collection of short stories. She lives in California.