Lisa Alther: Contribution as American Novelist

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      Lisa Alther is an American comic novelist, born in 1944 at Kingsport, Tennessee, who after going north for college, marriage and work in publishing, wrote a raucous fiction that became a much-loved bestseller. Kinflicks (1976), the story of Tennesseean Ginny Babcock's evolution from southern belle to hippy; lesbian separatist and suburban housewife, is a ribald, jaunty satire of the cultural and sexual manners of the 1960s and early 1970s. Original Sins (1981) drew on similar material with equal success; with Other Women (1984) she continued to show a punchy irreverence and an ability to bring lesbian stories into the mainstream that invite comparison with fellow Southerner Rita Mae Brown, who has praised her work. Married at 22 to a doctor, she moved to rural Vermont where she raised her daughter and wrote full-time, journalism as well as fiction. Her 1990 novel Bedrock, set in a Vermont town of fallen industry and backwoods perversion, was described as 'a southerner's version of northern gothic'. Five Minutes in Heaven (1995) recounted a displaced Southern woman's emotional and sexual development, and included a passage of 1960s description which showed that hedonistic spirit to be one with which she has an ongoing affinity.

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