I'll Take You There is told by a woman looking back on her first years of college at Syracuse in the 1970s. Her story, softened by the gauze of memory and the relief of having survived, nonetheless captures a harrowing ordeal of alienation and despair, heightened by a wrenching interracial love affair and her father's death. Cursed by insatiable yearning and constant dissatisfaction, "Anellia" has always been haunted by her mother. With her father and brothers making her feel responsible for her mother's death, she longs for acceptance and the warmth of human compassion. When Anellia begins college, she naively seeks that compassion at a sorority house, with disastrous results. Gradually she descends to deeper levels of estrangement, until she is nearly an outcast. She is swept up in a turbulent love affair with a black philosophy student only to be abandoned. Her sense of rejection reaches a turning point when she's called away to be with her dying father.With deftly cast philosophical meditations-on love, death, identity, the body-I'll Take You There is a portrait of a young woman surprised to discover strength in simply enduring. It is a thought-provoking meditation on the existential questions that arise in burgeoning adulthood, a tender evocation of the dignity and power of young love.
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by Joyce Carol Oates
by James Joyce
"Reader Kate Fleming could make a telephone directory seem compelling, but, sad to say, she doesn't have a whole lot to work with in this newest effort from the usually reliable Joyce Carol Oates. Once again Oates visits the angst of a young woman, this one enrolled at Syracuse University in the early '60s, but her unnamed, introspective protagonist just doesn't arouse much interest or sympathy. The appropriately dramatic Fleming, on the other hand, is marvelous, especially with a sorority's British housemother and the heroine's black lover. Let's hope she gets a book more worth her listeners' time, and her own, next time. T.H. (c) AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine"
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