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August 23, 2019 | Rome, Italy

Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z

By | 2018-03-21T18:27:13+02:00 February 11th, 2005|Recent Reviews|

By Debra Weinstein

Ballantine Books, 2004. 272 pages.

The 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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