Su, a highly regarded journalist in a southern city, is going through a rocky menopause. In addition, her longtime partnership with her lover, Bettina, is faltering; she is having trouble writing; and she finds herself falling in love with octogenarian Mamie Carter, whose bridge club also metes vigilante justice on perpetrators of domestic violence. Into Su's hectic life appears Sister Gin, a mysterious figure who leaves notes challenging Su's work and sense of herself.


Arnold's descriptions of the hot flashes of menopause have been hailed as some of the best in literature, but Arnold's portraits of her aging and elderly characters go beyond mere description. The effect on Su of her carefully closeted life as she moves into late middle age is integral to her crisis in (re)discovering who she is.

At the same time, Arnold's book dares to take a hard look at some of the most difficult questions within the lesbian community, particularly the presence of alcoholism and dominance in relationships. While the story is sometimes painful, it is also often highly comic. Its prose style challenges readers with shifts in voice and perspective, but it can also sweep them along with its poetry and lively dialogue.


First published: 1975. The 1989 edition contains an afterword by feminist literary scholar, Jane Marcus. [Feminist Press distributor: the Talman Co.]


The Feminist Press at the City Univ. of New York

Place Published

New York



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