Merciless Beauty

Eisenstein's sixth book of fiction, Merciless Beauty, concerns the life of a young woman, Loni, imprisoned for having murdered her husband, Michael. But the story of this beautiful but increasingly hardened young woman gradually reveals that she has not only murdered her husband, but murdered his likeness time and again throughout her life as he appeared in various guises: her childhood piano teacher, a student in one of her classes; a lover, etc. Like a vampire, she is doomed to destroy the man who falls in love with her "merciless beauty." This novel is both a stunning tone poem in the manner of Schubert's "Death and the Maiden," and a hilarious riff on contemporary culture, the book ending in its characters' deaths (or is it their resurrection?) among the artist Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "Umbrella's," spread out over a Southern California landscape.

Sam Eisenstein lives in Pasadena and teaches in Los Angeles. He has published several books of fiction, including the story collection, The Inner Garden, and the longer fictions Price of Admission, Rectification of Eros, Nudibranchia, and Cosmic Cow.