Riverhead Books Archive
Gabel studied cello for years and her experience is evident as she spools out the plot, repeats motifs and varies the story's tempo and dynamics. Music dictates the structure of the book, too, which is arranged in four parts, like a concerto, with a short coda at the end.
The Female Persuasion never disappoints: there are twists and turns that keep us guessing, new voices to take on the storytelling task, and heartbreak as friends and lovers disappoint, deceive, and part ways.
It’s great fun to watch Ausubel’s enormous imagination at work and to share the joy that emerges from her writing. That said, the strongest, and most haunting, stories in the collection make the magical real as they examine loss.