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Eyes
Eyes
Author: Felice Picano
ISBN: 78968
Pages: 215
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Publisher: Arbor House
Book Type: Hardcover
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Eyes, Picano's second novel, involves a youngish woman, Johanna Poole, who lives alone on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Her only acquaintences in the neighborhood seem to be the old ladies. The people she's met through her freelance editing work are not all that appetizing to her. Having been stung by an early breakup, Johanna still seeks out a romantic connection to a man, but via the relative safety of her telephone, and her window.
Stu Waehner lives across the street from her, and when Johanna (whom he names Joan) starts calling him, first "by accident," he finds himself engaging in the relationship, rather than just hanging up.

While it starts out slow, it picks up to proceeds to a dramatic finish. (I read the whole book over two days.) Picano manages to flesh out both the voyeur and her subject by alternating their points of view. Johanna is given much more sympathetic treatment than the usual voyeur/stalker figures in todays idiotic TV movies.

The novel was written in 1975 and is based on an incident from Picano's own life, when he was being put under the microscope by a peeping female neighbor, who didn't seem to mind him being gay, but became very threatening when she mistook a female overnight guest for a romantic liaison, and a threat. I am adding a star for the heartfelt scene involving Johanna's defense of a bag lady on the subway.


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