The Exploding Frangipani: Lesbian writing from Australia and New Zealand
New Womens Press, 149pp, $12.95 pb
It is curious that in a culture where physical contact and affection is far more freely expressed among women than men that the lifestyles of lesbians are thoroughly submerged. The old bigotries are still prevalent, but it seems that the factors that have placed male homosexuality on the public agenda – gay liberation and more recently the AIDS crisis – have done little to enhance the profile of lesbians.
This silence, compounded by the apathy and stereotyping in the mass media, makes an anthology such as The Exploding Frangipani a potentially important book. But the overall assembly of the collection, and some of its more dogmatic contributions in particular, left me feeling unconvinced. I was uncertain, to begin with, at whom the book was aimed: lesbians, would-be lesbians, devotees of gay literature or, that elusive being, the ‘general reader’.