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The Rape of the Muse
Michael Stein. Permanent, $28 (206p) ISBN 978-1-57962-2234
A comic drama of artist friends treating each other badly, and sometimes well, Stein's fifth novel (after In the Age of Love) is far less histrionic than its title suggests. Narrator Rand Tabor is a young New York City artist in a slump. He takes an apprenticeship with Harris Montrose, a legendary sculptor poised to make a comeback, at least until he publishes a photographic piece of art. In it, fellow artist Simon Pruhar, his close friend, is assaulting a young woman named Binny with whom Rand has a complex relationship. Simon sues for …