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Diski, Jenny

life mother rainforest

(British, 1947– )

Of Russian and Polish Jewish descent, Diski has published short stories and novels which explore the compulsions and neuroses of contemporary life, and the psychology of the outsider. In Rainforest (1987) Mo, a successful anthropologist, bases her life on predictability and order. A research trip to a rainforest in Borneo forces her to confront the illogical and unpredictable in herself, and disrupts her sense of identity. She returns to England, and becomes a house-cleaner in an attempt to restore order to her life. Nothing Natural (1986) explores the discovery of sexual pleasure for an ordinary single mother within a dangerous sadomasochistic relationship. Like Mother (1988) is a chilling examination of Frances, whose life of intense emptiness is narrated by her baby Nony, born without a brain. Through frank first-person narratives, Diski invites her readers to question accepted ideas of normality.

Nina Bawden, Joyce Carol Oates, Doris Lessing  DJ

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