A Memory in Limbo

The party in “The Woman in the Rose-Colored Dress” cannot be assigned to a particular location or historical moment. It could be plucked from anyone’s childhood, so achingly familiar are the sights and sounds of a grown-up party in this coming-of-age vignette.

Gina Berriault captures the limbo of adolescence so masterfully that we, as readers, may overlook an important fact: this is a memory, the narrator’s chronological distance from that which is unknown. Her adult experience informs her recollection and her startling belief that knowledge and experience offer little protection from the follies of human desire.

—Tarrin Yeates

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