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Through the Ivory Gate (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – 1 Oct 1993

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

A debut novel by the 1987 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. When a woman returns to her Midwestern hometown as an artist-in-residence to teach puppetry to schoolchildren, her homecoming also means dealing with memories of racism, rejected love--and truths about her family. Author readings.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars on saturdays i like to be black 23 Aug. 2016
By starfish123 - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read this novel because I like Rita Dove's poetry, but this is not a good novel. The joke is that short story writers can't do full-length novels. Novelists can't write poetry, and poets can't write fiction. It is lamentably true in this instance. Dove is just no good with the mechanics of narrative. It is a kind of coming of age story, protagonist finds out something from her (family) past and learns about herself/life blah blah blah. Not an original idea. Poorly told. Again, I speak as a *fan* of Dove's poetry.

Ok so there are some things to like about this novel. She is an artist and a thoughtful, intelligent one at that. The main character is an actress/peformer/mime and Dove's disquisitions on mime, theatre, music are all interesting. She likes German music. Bach is name checked many times. I was not surprised after reading the novel when I read on the dust jacket that Dove was married to a German writer, haha. Her interest in classical music also can be seen in a poetry collection she wrote 17 years later in Sonata Mulattica (2009).
There are of course many interesting comments on race in America. I particularly liked when she is trying to explain to her harmless, white roommate why she can't come to her group meeting with fellow black women on campus ("On Saturdays I like to be black...").
Besides certain German composers and lyrics she also quotes Finnegans Wake and Andrew Marvell. Like I said, though this book doesn't work well as a novel there is a lot to enjoy here if you are interested in Art, Rita Dove, race in America etc.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Did not like this book. 26 April 2013
By lain - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book began slow. It was a very slow read. There were moments were the story could have expand and been worth reading but then it would wonder off again. This book had real potiential. It could have been so good. It was all over the place. The ending sucked.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Gift sent to a friend and she loved it! 2 Jan. 2011
By Gatorbear83 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I sent this book as a gift to a friend. It arrived on time despite my procrastinating. She loved it!
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