Call Me Ishtar (1973)

Call Me Ishtar is the outrageous manifesto of a goddess determined to right the wrongs of the three-thousand-year-old patriarchy. She is Ishtar: Mother Goddess, Queen of Heaven, Angel of Death, and Whore of Babylon, and, returning to earth in this most recent incarnation, suburban housewife and sexual subversive.

Gallivanting through upstate New York, Ishtar breaks into a Hostess factory to taint its products, catapults a rock band to stardom via satanic rituals, and rises from the coffin at her own funeral—all to overthrow the worship of phallic gods and resume her former glory in this “bouncy, tongue-in-cheek mythmash of The White Goddess and The Feminine Mystique” (Kirkus Reviews).

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“Lerman equals Philip Roth at his own good game—the Jewish absurd.  Her eye for the giveaway detail, her ear for the mad half-phrase, her ability to sustain the cadences of a  comic scene, all have that peculiar mix of energy, lucidity and hysteria at which Roth excels. . .Rhoda Lerman, American first-novelist of formidable gifts.  Call Me Ishtar announces a writer of genuine talent.  Rhoda Lerman is a find…go out and find her.”
—Harriet Rosenstein  NewYork Times Book Review

“A brilliant and original triumph of the imagination.”
—Marge Piercy

“The writing is splendid and the imagination is boundless.”
—Ishmael Reed

“A virtuoso performance; biblical rhetoric juxtaposed with Americanese and supernatural events with the dull routines of suburbia. . . .a weird, often hilarious mix of the exotic and the mundane.”
—Lore Dickstein   Ms Magazine

“A weird, wonderful, star-crossed, and earthy novel.”
—Annie Gottlieb  Viva

“A mythic masterpiece.”
—Walt Sheppard  Syracuse New Times