The Fifth Sally

Sally Porter is a drab waitress, divorcee, and loner in the great city. But, though she is unaware of it, she is also four other, quite different people: Nola, the cold independent artist who has a studio in Greenwich Village; Derry, the happy-go-lucky tomboy; Bella, the sexpot with a talent for singing and dancing; and finally Jinx, the hate- filled killer.

Whenever events put too much of a strain on Sally Porter, she feels a headache and a blackout coming on -- and a new character takes over. If there is a man to be fascinated, she will become Bella. If there is an intellectual problem, she will become Nola. And -- as happens in the opening scene of the novel-- if there is a rapist to be dealt with, she becomes the vicious Jinx.

It is the task of the wise and patient psychiatrist, Dr. Roger Ash -- a man who nevertheless has severe problems of his own -- to deal with this case of multiple personality and, through painstaking therapy, to try to fuse the four disparate personalities into "the fifth Sally." His struggle and near disasters become the major strand of the story.

Sybil and Three Faces of Eve were case histories dealing with multiple personality disorder. Although based on fact, this is the first contemporary novel, to deal with the theme as fiction.

Reviews of The Fifth Sally

"With his latest book, Keyes has shown himself as a master craftsman. He molds words like a woodworker works with wood. ... What Keyes has pulled off with this new book is the creation of a new point of view. Points of view, as we remember from high school English, has to do with who is telling the story. A first-person singular novel is written as an eyewitness account, if you will. A third-person omniscient point of view has one person (never named) telling the story without getting involved. The narrator knows everything....

The Fifth Sally is written as a first person piece, but when Sally switches to her other personalities it's a different "I" talking. Since one of the personalities knows what all the others are thinking, she becomes omniscient. It's a new point of view, an all-knowing I... The characterization is intense. Not only does Keyes have to create five different personalities, he has to fuse them so the reader will be able to find traces of all of them along the way."

-- The Plain Dealer

"Daniel Keyes has demonstrated a fine sensitivity to the pain of a damaged and disordered personality, and is firm and lucid in presenting what is far more than merely case history. As in Flowers for Algernon, he has made apparent the suffering of a damaged person through a clear reporting of the particulars. I congratulate him for the seriousness of his intent and the skill of its execution."

-- Walter Tevis, author of The Hustler and The Man Who Fell to Earth.

"This is a compelling novel about a fictional Sybil. The story, though imagined, is convincing as the case history of a multiple personality. There is a true rendition of the volatile, divided, and conflicted self, by turns dull, tough, brilliant, cheerful, and depraved. The portrait of the psychiatrist, combining professionalism with a capacity for human suffering and compassion, also has the ring of truth. A tale of a multiple personality, this is also a modern morality novel, revealing five facets of everywoman. And it is "a good read."

-- Flora Rheta Schreiber, author of Sybil

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