Risk by Elana Dykewomon


Risk is a beautifully told story that spans the years from the mid-eighties to the post-9/11 world. Carol, whose father was killed in the Vietnam War, is an idealistic, Berkeley-educated, Jewish lesbian living in Oakland, California. She makes her living by tutoring high school students, engages in community activism, and sometimes supplements her income with gambling. Through Carol's life, Dykewomon explores the changing times and values in America.


To change the world, you need to take risks. That’s something Carol Schwartz knows bone deep. And it’s something she’s prepared to do. She learned about risk as a girl. She never understood why, but her father chose to go to Vietnam and she never saw him again. Now Carol, a Berkeley-educated idealist, tutors high school students. A Jewish lesbian, she’s a community activist in Oakland. And she’s learned to take risks of her own. She gambles her inheritance, her love, even her own well-being. Across the years—from the mid-eighties to the post-9/11 world—the stakes get ever higher and her gambles more desperate. Until finally Carol finds out just what’s left when the last gamble is lost.

Activist, author and teacher, Elana Dykewomon is one of the finest thinkers the women’s movement has produced. Winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Ferro-Grumley Award, she has taught composition and creative writing for the past fifteen years. Her books include Beyond the Pale and They Will Know Me By My Teeth.

Reviews for Elana Dykewomon’s Beyond the Pale

“One of the most compelling novels I have ever read —a work of remarkable importance.” —The Village Voice

“One of the best books of the year — Compeling, honest and unselfconscious.” —The Toronto Star

“Truly great novels aren’t written very often, but Beyond the Pale deserves all the glowing adjectives available. Filled with memorable scenes and glorious characters.” —Bay Area Reporter

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