Madness, cruelty, and sexuality permeate the household in which Lilian Una Singer is raised-an upper-crust Victorian world of teacups and servants. But Lilian, shielded by layers of fat, an iron will, and an indomitable spirit, has her sights set on an education, love, and-finally-her own transcendent forms of independence.
Narrator Lilian grows up in a troubled household (her mother is afflicted by vapors and her pseudo-intellectual father tries to force himself on her sexually). ``Lilian's story often has the quality of a dream recounted while the dreamer is half asleep, which alone is a remarkable achievement,'' PW found. (November)