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The End of Desire

Bialosky, Jill

ISBN 10: 0679454551 / ISBN 13: 9780679454557
Published by New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
From a cool of books (Mastic, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Author's first book. Dark grey boards over black, quarter cloth with gilt spine titles. Red topstain. Inscribed on title page. FINE. In a complete DJ that shows a hint of tanning to top of front flap, else FINE in a mylar sleeve. The poet's much-praised first book. Bookseller Inventory # 22093

Bibliographic Details

Title: The End of Desire

Publisher: New York: Alfred A. Knopf

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Inscribed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Jill Bialosky's first collection of poems is an exceptional one--moving, very accomplished, marked by an unflinching realism and a sharply observant eye combined with great technical skill. Childhood and adolescence shattered by a father's death and the struggles of a mother to raise her daughters are among its concerns. The poems have a dignity and magic that are quite distinctive.
From the Trade Paperback edition.


In The End of Desire, autobiography coalesces into art. In her first collection, Jill Bialosky is intent on the before and after as she, her mother, and her sisters struggle with the death of her father. The opening sequence, "The House," is a delicate narrative of secrets and loss. In one poem, the two younger girls take turns burying each other under leaves in a game called father. Meanwhile, their mother resorts at first to men, later to alcohol and isolation. As her children are in the yard, building "fathers out of snow," she is abandoned indoors, increasingly unreal.

We left her alone for hours,
our skin raw,
holding white like warmth in our hands.
She was almost invisible
in the icy air.
As this woman retreats into sleep and drink, the narrator tries to console the youngest sister with stories: "secret gardens we believed were real, red barns, / horses that could make you cry, magic painted roads." Only occasionally does Bialosky falter, proffering the overt explanation rather than the objective correlative. In "Premonition," for instance, her mother doesn't hear her sister cry because "she was hard into her sleep / where alcohol formed / its impenetrable cloud." But many of her confessional lyrics are more subtle, particularly when the action extends beyond the confines of house and garden and the girls go past their "protective net / of stars and constellations" (even though romance never seems the haven the eldest had promised). The End of Desire is an often discomfiting record of the growth of the poet's mind, one in which grief never releases its grasp. --Siobhan Carson

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