February 21, 2024 | Rome, Italy

Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z

By |2018-03-21T18:27:13+01:00February 11th, 2005|Recent Reviews|

By Debra Weinstein

Ballantine Books, 2004. 272 pages.

T

he young poet Annabelle loves the great poet Z. Positively venerates her. What could be better than an apprenticeship with the master, who is also a professor? “This,” says Annabelle, “is the story of how I came to momentary prominence in the world of poetry, and, through a series of misunderstandings, destroyed my good name and became a nobody.”

Misunderstandings? Not quite. The great Z., it turns out, is a thief and a plagiarist (“mature poets steal,” Weinstein quotes from Eliot in her invocation). What’s charming about the satire is its zealous amorality. Z. can’t imagine doing wrong; she’s the great Z., after all; Annabelle, meanwhile, can’t get beyond her good luck in being the chosen one. Weinstein is witty, softly savage, sometimes cruel.

This is a zesty first novel about that bad luck known as academia.

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