FICTION

The Girl at the Door

Black Cat: Grove: Atlantic. Oct. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9780802147349. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780802147356. F
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In her English-language debut, Italian author Raimo creates an uncomfortable situation for her readers to consider—the report of an act of sexual violence within a utopian society where the principles of morality are unyielding. The island of Miden is a beautiful, peaceful place, thanks to its natural beauty and to the Commission, which makes sure the area’s inhabitants live in accordance with the Miden Dream. When a professor of philosophy is accused of rape, testimonies are collected for his trial. The verdict of the trial will determine whether the professor will be allowed to stay on the island. The story is told in alternating voices of Him (the professor) and Her (his girlfriend, who is pregnant with their first child). The accuser is a student with whom he had an affair two years ago, before the girlfriend came to live at Miden. Following the affair, the student came to believe that she was victimized by the older man, and she presses charges.
VERDICT In a story reminiscent of The Scarlet Letter but with a more salacious vocabulary, emotional polarities abound while the accused expresses no remorse, only self-interest. Provocative reading for the brave. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]

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