From Publishers Weekly
A young woman grasps at self-knowledge against the backdrop of a seedy New York City in Rayfiel's uneven third novel, a sequel to the author's well-received Colony Girl. Seventeen-year-old Eve left a "tiny religious colony" in Iowa and moved alone to Manhattan, where she lives in a garret and works at a grimy after-hours bar operated by Viktor Kholmov, an illegal Russian immigrant. Returning home at dawn, Eve sees a couple struggling: the woman flees, and the man collapses, a knife in his gut. She files a half-hearted police report, and shortly thereafter she attends a gallery opening, mostly because she can't figure out how she got an invitation. There she meets the artist Marron McKee (a "creepy beauty" obsessed with "the Male Gaze") and a kindly painter named Horace Dean, with whom she tentatively begins a relationship. Viktor proposes marriage to Eve, and she, in her particular brand of muddled thinking, considers it, while Arthur Jourdain, a downcast, solitary detective investigating the alleged stabbing, keeps tabs on her and takes a paternal interest. Eve decides that she should search for the victim herself, and she learns that one of New York's most powerful citizens has an intense personal stake in what she witnessed. The favor he asks challenges Eve just as she always imagined the city would. Improbable encounters are necessary to advance the plot toward a conclusion that strains credibility; at times the narration is choppy and the chronology cloudy. What shines through is Rayfiel's knowledge of, and affection for, the public and peripheral worlds of New York City.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The protagonist of Rayfiel's acclaimed Colony Girl
(1999) reappears, having exchanged the Iowa religious colony where she grew up for New York. Only 17 and lacking proper identification (like a last name), Eve takes a job as a cocktail waitress at an illegal bar run by an undocumented Georgian immigrant. Roaming the streets in the predawn hours, she witnesses a crime and files a police report, but she's not sure exactly what she saw (or if she made it all up)--a woman getting raped, or maybe a man getting stabbed by the woman he was just kissing. The incident leads to her meeting a detective and a reticent artist, whom she fantasizes about even as she considers a marriage proposal from her green-card-seeking boss. Much of the narrative plays out in Eve's thoughts, making it difficult to figure out what is real and what isn't. But through it all, Eve remains a screwed-up but likable heroine whom readers will want to follow further as she moves toward a brighter future. Beth LeistensniderCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved