The Great Divorce
By Valerie Martin
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780375727184, 352pp.)
Publication Date: February 4, 2003
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Three surprising women, their lives riven by divorce both literal and metaphorical: Ellen Clayton, reeling from her husband’s decision to leave her after twenty years, finds meaning in caring for her teenage daughters and in her work as the veterinarian at the New Orleans Zoo. Her young assistant Camille, preyed on by a series of contemptuous men, experiences bizarre episodes in which she feels herself transforming into one of the great cats in her care. And Elisabeth Boyer, a passionate Creole aristocrat trapped on her husband’s antebellum plantation, finds deliverance in the form of a black leopard, a powerful, merciless ally from the wild. Their unfolding stories blur distinctions of time, class and social construct to reveal the ordinary and extraordinary measures required to make our fractured world whole.