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Stephanie Dowrick

This quote from Buddha opens Tasting Salt, Dowrick’s second novel, and freedom is its main theme. But the freedom in question is of the quiet domestic kind rather than the revolutionary clenched-fist-and-anthem kind. Cordelia, preparing a cocktail party for her seventy-third birthday, suddenly finds herself a widow after fifty years of marriage to George. George’s departure precipitates a crisis of self. No longer able to define herself simply as ‘George’s wife’ or even ‘George’s widow’ she finds herself confronted by the past and unresolved questions of identity, sexuality, and gender. Cordelia’s odyssey, frequently confusing and sometimes painful ultimately brings her a modicum of joy and renewed faith.

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Dear Editor,

The Fat Author Replies to Robert Dessaix:

The author does not embody Iiterary classification nor does she base her work on literary theory though literary criticism does inform her literary practice.

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With her first novel (published in 1985 and now available in paperback), publisher and writer Stephanie Dowrick has created a long and uneven though often absorbing work, tracing the life of Zoë Delighty from birth to mature womanhood. It is a testament to the heroine’s survival of the vicissitudes of her active life, and her struggle to counter the malign influences of her girlhood which dog her through her attempts to engage herself creatively in life.

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