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Donnelly's first novel reprises the lives and loves of the lesbian women who frequent Babe's, a women's bar in the Bay Area. Skillfully woven into a myriad of characters and plots are the stories of bar owner Babe Daniels, her longtime lover Sharon, and lesbian daughter Tara. Kate, who hopes to capture the elusive and hidden ``lesbian nation'' on film; the lonely Rose; and exotic dancer Luna are but a few of the intriguing women presented here. Their joys, fears, hopes, and desperation are effectively captured in Donnelly's dry, Raymond Chandleresque style: ``Babe raps a Lucky--no filter thank you--against the bar, torches it, and settles back to survey her domain. She likes what she sees, and all of it--from the vinyl bar stools cracked like lipstick at 3:00 A.M. to the very last bottle of Southern Comfort--is hers.'' Alternately humorous, sad, gruesome, and poignant, this fine first novel is a welcome addition to libraries with established gay and lesbian fiction collections. See LJ 's ``First Novelists,'' p. 41.-- Kevin M. Roddy, Oakland P.L., Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Subtitled A Novel After All , these polished and smartly paced stories about lesbians in love loosely revolve around Babe Daniels's bar in Oakland, Calif. Leading off is the tale of how Babe left the Roller Derby, rescued Sharon Winston and her baby Tara from a home for unwed mothers, and got them to California, where Babe began working in the bar she finally buys. The bar draws women from all over: Kate Solomon, a terminally ill, Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist, leaves her lover Crissy to drive a van across the country, searching for the lesbian nation. Fearless Faye Fletcher is a regular--an old Roller Derby queen and early lover of Babe's, now a drunken has-been, defeated by the death of her young daughter. The members of Babe's softball team, the Dykeball Losers, have their stories; Sharon, bothered by Babe's promiscuity, wonders what she wants from her relationship. Lesbians of many stripes--timid, tough, fearful, assertive--people the pages with some fairly explicit sex and a hard-to-believe buoyancy. Donnelly, billed as the lesbian Damon Runyon, writes as though she were cheerleading. But when she steers clear of sentimentality, cliche and melodrama, her stories are lively, moving and ring true. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved