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IN BRIEF

Fiction

June 02, 1996|ERIKA TAYLOR

OTHER WOMEN by Evelyn Lau (Simon & Schuster: $21; 192 pp.). When a good friend calls to obsess about someone that they're dating, many of us listen not because we are fascinated but because we are loyal. Other people's obsessions are rarely that interesting. It is a credit to Evelyn Lau's writing that her novel is even somewhat captivating, since "Other Women" is basically one long account of a young woman's desperate love for an older married man.

Alternating between first and third person, "Other Women" tells of Fiona, an attractive, bright professional whose world loses all cohesion without Raymond, the object of her obsession. "When they could not be together she came apart as though . . . a thread in her personality had been hooked onto his body, so when he left each time he pulled that thread and she began to unravel."

Lau, who is still in her early 20s, is obscenely talented. The writing in "Other Women," as well as her earlier collection of short stories, is like a violent but exquisitely rendered photograph. However, along with the disturbing beauty that characterizes "Other Women," Fiona's obsession is still not as compelling to us as it is to her creator. Lau has the capacity for real brilliance in a novel. As of yet it is unrealized.

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