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Vito Loves Geraldine Paperback – January 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Spoofing generic notions of romance and family, Eidus's ( Faithful Rebecca ) authoritative short fiction is marked by a sly marriage of fantasy and reality. Readers are most effectively lured into the author's special twilight zones by those stories told in the first person. Her high school sweetheart cuts a hit record and splits for the West Coast, and the sanguine heroine of the O. Henry-winning title story waits patiently for his return. Years pass, and Geraldine still teases her hair and dresses up in her old prom dress to dance and sing in front of the mirror, stuck firmly in the '50s, when she was the most popular girl in her Bronx crowd. The honeymoon is over when his sweet, mousey wife, a word processor, becomes a performance artist, but the staid narrator of "Vanna" learns he can keep the marriage afloat by lusting after her dominatrix alter ego. "The Country in Maura" features an academic whose subject of research is a Dolly Parton clone. Some tales are fragments (a clogged toilet that needs to be snaked catapults Eve into leaving Adam in "A Comb and a Snake") or invent less convincing voices, such as "Safe," which tracks a couple's private thoughts about sleeping together in the age of AIDS.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The title story, which received an O. Henry Prize, is the classic narrative of a headstrong girl willingly waiting for her lover while he sets off to earn his fame and fortune. While she bides her time in the old neighborhood and her friends marry and bear children (and grandchildren), she follows stories of her high school sweetheart marrying and losing himself to drugs--but only to come back to her in the end. Although a simple story of enduring love between two people, it formally paves the way for the other stories to follow, illustrating the tension between being a woman and the choice to define herself as a person.
Eidus flirts with the notion of womanhood, weaving tales of females trying to find what it is to be a woman, eventually shedding that label and becoming her own self. In stories such as "The Dreaded Female Locker Room Talk," "The Resolution of Muscle," and "Safe," the author demonstrates the minimal differences between men and women in speech, physicality, and life priorities, respectively. Her stories mostly follow the trajectory of women in a state of confusion coming to terms with desires that are not at all "womanly" but are necessary for their wellbeing.
While many of the stories still leave much to be explained, the characters remain flawed and yet relatable women. Just as they wrestle with ideas that attempt to define them, the author reveals their individual natures that desire to be neither masculine nor feminine, but are regardless of gender tendencies overall.