The Woman Who Couldn’t Remember But Didn’t Forget

Words in the shape of music: portamento, ostinato, parlando

Review by Grady Harp

Walli F. Leff is a sensitive being and her writing reflects that sensitivity. She is a social psychologist, and educator, pioneer in corruption prevention, researcher and essayist who has directed her gifts of observation to drawing attention to the natural beauty of the environment and its marriage to well-being. It is also evident that is profoundly musical: every chapter or section of this book is prefaced by musical terms that to the trained eye will be most satisfying and to the less trained eye will hopefully open some windows into a new part of life.

The story is a complex one and worth intense attention to the miscarriage of justice and the struggle for righting the blight on our ecology and environment. But it is also the study of one Sylvie Deroque whom we meet in the opening of the book as being in Los Angels County Jail, attempting to make sense of how she arrived at the position of prisoner yet capably relating to her fellow women inmates. Sylvie is an expert on wind power and in crosshairs with those who would place oil over her energy source despite the threat to not only the environment but also to the welfare of the people involved with concern. At a strange moment of `possession’ (for lack of a better quickly understood term) she acts with lethal force shooting her opponents – and event that begins a time travel back to events of the past during WW II where as a child she was subjected to events that shaped her life, submerged for years only to surface as she attempts to cope and defend the attempted murder charge.

Leff writes with a bold pen, able to rise to the occasion when bitter aspects force action, but also to offer a cadenza of reverie to enchant the reader, providing a riff of emotional purging to relieve the tension. She is a major talent and reading her book is most rewarding.

Grady Harp, Sept 2013

ISBN: 9780865349384

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