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Fiction

December 29, 1985|MEREDITH BRUCKER

COMING BACK UP by Suzanne Lipsett (Atheneum: $15.95). This is the story of the two-year healing of a terrible wound. It begins with the gang rape of a successful middle-aged career woman. But the main character must endure still more: a resultant pregnancy, testimony and confrontation of her attackers in court, the birth of a racially mixed child, placement of that child for adoption, the suicide of a close sister--besides all the already well-known emotional damage left after the hideous violation she suffered. This reads more like an autobiography than a novel, partly because it is told in first person, but also because of the aura of verisimilitude in the abundantly detailed descriptions of daily life, and through the plot twists--too true, it seems, to have been imagined. Because it seems so real, the reader feels uncomfortable sharing the slow and grim catharsis. Good therapy for the storyteller is, for this reader, about as rewarding an experience as watching a scab grow. "Coming Back Up" proves Suzanne Lipsett a sensitive and skilled writer, and one who will be well served when she creates a more identifiable story which does not separate her from the reader.

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