New York Times – The House on R Street

Filled With Girlish Greed

By PATRICK MCGRATH; Published: May 22, 1994, Sunday

THE HOUSE ON R. STREET By Sheila Kohler. 144 pp. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $20.

THERE’S a very funny incident early in Sheila Kohler’s dreamy, shimmering and densely erotic new novel, “The House on R. Street.” Three sisters are playing in a shed behind the family home. This is the 1920’s, we are in the wealthy residential section of an unnamed South African city and the girls are the daughters of a diamond merchant. In the shed is an abandoned victoria, an old horse-drawn carriage with black leather seats. The dominant sister makes the other two climb into the back of the victoria and take their clothes off. She then has one girl lie on her back and the other lie on top of her, with “both of them making little moans. ‘Now, now, we all have our cross to bear,’ says one, and the other, ‘If you only knew how much I suffer.'”