“This book is dedicated to Lillian, who lives with nobody but a colony on New York roaches, whose energy has never failed despite her anxieties and her asthma and her overweight, who is always interested in everybody, often angry, sometimes bitchy, but always involved. Lillian the abundant, the golden, the eloquent, the well and badly loved; Lillian the beautiful who thinks she is ugly, Lillian the indefatigable who thinks she is always tired.
It is dedicated to Caroline, who danced, but badly, painted but badly, jumped up from a dinner table in tears, crying that she wanted to be a person, went out and was one, despite her great beauty. Caroline who smarts at every attack, and doubts all praise, who has done great things with gentleness and humility, who assaulted the authorities with valorous love and cannot be defeated.
It is for my fairy godmother, Joy with the green eyes, whose husband decried her commonsense and belittled her mind, because she was more passionately intelligent, and more intelligently passionate than he, until she ran away from him and recovered herself, her insight and her sense of humour, and never cried again, except in compassion.
It is for Kasoundra, who makes magic out of skins and skeins and pens, who is never still, never unaware, riding her strange destiny in the wilderness of New York, loyal and bitter, as strong as a rope of steel and as soft as a sigh.
For Marcia, whose mind contains everything and destroys nothing, understanding dreams and nightmares, who looks on tempests and is not shaken, who lives among the damned and is not afraid of them, a living soul among the dead.”