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"The Pollen Room"

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First published in Germany two years ago as Das Blutenstaubzimmer, Zoe Jenny's The Pollen Room (Simon & Schuster; $20) is a quick lesson in bad parenting and Jungian analysis. Well-received in Europe, Jenny's subtly detailed work sifts the unconscious and un-nurturing relationships that perpetuate when self-absorbed adult children have kinder of their own. Jo is a young, forlorn girl who's cut loose emotionally by both her ineffectual father and her anesthetized mother after they divorce. Elizabeth Gaffney has succeeded in translating the quiet frustration of what it is to be unquestionably alone, and Jenny has written a deeply sad and beautiful story. But at a slight and hesitant 147 pages, it's just that -- a story, not a novel.


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