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"Cut Away" is a novel that expertly entwines the lives of three characters struggling to understand the meaning of identity and its seeming mutability. Orbiting around the mystery of a missing teenager, a trio of narrators each tells her story in turn. Alexandra is a transgendered woman who has refused surgery and abandoned Los Angeles for a trailer at the desolate Salton Sea. Asa, the mother of the runaway, wants her grief-ridden face completely transformed. Eleanor, a plastic surgeon, is fascinated with surfaces and wonders whether visual harmony has the power to change what lies beneath. In a culture obsessed with transforming the body, do the incarnate fictions we create have the power to hide or reveal the truth of who we really are? This is a question that Catherine Kirkwood approaches in a stunning debut novel of desire, self-loathing, and the revisionary madness of our modern world.
As they each become involved in the mystery surrounding a missing teenager, three women struggle with the meaning of identity and the possibility of real change.
The lives of four deeply nuanced characters-a runaway girl, her mentally unstable mother, a middle-aged transvestite, and a plastic surgeon-converge in the desert outside Los Angeles. Catherine Kirkwood's strange, unsettling, and wonderfully human debut novel artfully depicts characters grappling with their personal demons and identities.