chapter
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fluid, shimmering, and mobile, because it is a self whose ‘place [is] the very house of difference rather than the security of any one particular difference’. (Zami: 226)

Lesbian fiction expresses four dimensions within a myth of origins: the lesbian self, the lesbian couple, the lesbian community, and community and difference. These divisions have been progressive and developmental-although latterly, Zimmerman notes, visions of the Lesbian Nation are weaker and more diffuse, as fiction becomes more individualistic and idiosyncratic. It is as though ‘the center of Lesbian Nation no longer holds’. While the book ends on a note of reflective retreat, the author also contends that this movement of self-criticism is characteristic of lesbian culture, ‘our fiction continually sets up a version of reality and then pulls it down again’. The Safe Sea of Women is not intended to be ‘the’ authoritative version of the genre of lesbian fiction, but it is the most distinctly articulate and expressive deciphering of the field.