Both Isadora and Alice live in a fantasy world which is more congenial to them than is reality. However, for Isadora, residence in wonderland is impossible to maintain. When the fantasy “of the zipless fuck,” which Isadora pursues throughout the novel, becomes a reality, she realizes the disparity between eight-year-old naivety and twenty-nine-year-old delusion. She calls herself, “Isadora in Wonderland, the eternal naif.” The fantasy “instead of turning me on, . . . revolted me! Perhaps there was no longer anything romantic about men at all?” Isadora rejects one fantasy after another as Alice, weary of the Queen's tricks, seizes the table cloth and upsets her illusory dinner party. But most importantly, Isadora outgrows the role of “Isadora Wing, clown, crybaby, fool,” and opts for a life that will satisfy her rather than repeatedly seeking some fantasy lover who will disappoint her.
However, all the aspects of her journey are not as felicitous as Alice's adventures in wonderland. Isadora, because she is “bloody Jewish . . . mediocre at other things, but at suffering you're always superb,” must descend to the depths of Dante's hell in order to cleanse herself of yet another illusion—another masculine image of woman. Early in the novel, she assumes the Beatrice role by idealizing her various love-relationships, “Dante and Beatrice . . . Me and Adrian?” She also links Brian and herself to the well known lovers, “What if he were Dante and I Beatrice?” She would be able to guide him through the hell of his madness. However, ultimately Isadora must identify both with the pilgrim Dante and some of the sinners he encounters on his way. She is the incontinent Francesca, “The book of my body was open and the second circle of Hell wasn't far off”; and Adrian, of course, is Paola. As the Dantean lovers are whirled and buffeted through the murky air by a great whirlwind, so Isadora and Adrian are seen in various degrees of intoxication, moving through the purple mists of the “Congress of Dreams” and motoring in endless circles through Europe. However, Isadora's journey like Dante's is ever downward. When Adrian and Isadora venture into the bizarre, mirrored, and stroboscopic world of the discotheque, Isadora renames it “The Seventh Circle.” Once inside they become lost in the maze of mirrors and with mounting panic they look for familiar faces in the crowd of strangers, “all the other damned souls.” Isadora's relationship with