top of page
This odd, transcendent and triumphant novel published in 2000 completes a
quasi-autobiographical, radically philosophical series of fictions Howe
began with First Marriage, published in 1972. Like Howe, Henny's life spans
the tempestuous multi-racial world of hipsters and activists in working-
class Boston during the 60s and its subsequent fall-out.On the verge of
religious conversion, Henny, the book's narrator, locks her husband McCool
in a closet so that she might talk better to God. Then she proceeds to make
peace with the dead by telling their stories. Lewis, Henny's true love, is
a wheelchair-bound black activist and political journalist whose working-
class mother is jailed when the group's cache of explosives is found in her
home. Then there's their wealthy friend Libby, who crosses the globe in
search of enlightenment and spiritual peace. Guiding these characters on
their journey are figures as divergent as Nietzsche and Bambi, Marx and St.
John of the Cross.As Christopher Martin writes in Rain Taxi, Henny's
function as a narrator is to hoist the entire structure of the novel onto
her brittle, uneven shoulders and deliver all the embarrassing facts
directly to us, her reader/God -- only then do we realize the full breadth
and beauty of the narrative Howe has surreptitiously constructed all
along.Fanny Howe is the author of several works of fiction (most recently,
Economics from Flood Editions) and collections of poems, including One
Crossed Out and Gone. She is the winner of the 2000 Lenore Marshall Award
for her Selected Poems. Her first collection of essays, The Wedding Dress,
was published by UC Press in the Fall of 2003. She lives in Massachusetts
but remains Professor Emeritus at UCSD in the Department of Literature.

Fanny Howe—Indivisible

  • 9781584350095
bottom of page