Moon Passage

Jane LeCompte, Author, Janet LeCompte, Author
Jane LeCompte, Author, Janet LeCompte, Author HarperCollins Publishers $16.95 (187p) ISBN 978-0-06-016120-0
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Although LeCompte is an accomplished writer--her prose is fluent, lyrical and richly imaged--this first novel bears the marks of an idea fleshed out with characters conceived to typify a situation, but who do not, however, achieve the credibility of warmblooded human beings. It is obvious from the beginning, when 20-year-old Ellen Cassidy arrives unannounced at the secluded California seaside home of 45-year-old Alice Ellis, that the two will clash in personality and life styles, gradually learn to understand each other and eventually become bonded in fundamental ways. What the women have in common is Jay Ellis, charismatic professor at Boston's Emerson College, husband of Alice for 23 years and lover of Ellen for a short time. As is his habit, philanderer Jay has gone on to yet another young lover, after having told Ellen that he will never leave his wife, who tolerates his affairs with seeming serenity in her self-imposed isolation. Through Ellen's impulsive, aggressive questioning, Alice comes to understand that her ``happy'' solitary existence is a defense she has built against Jay's infidelities. To enliven what is essentially a passive story, LeCompte forces the women into theatrical, often hysterical confrontations, but as they begin to understand their sisterhood, Alice is freed of her constricting fears and can give Ellen spiritual sustenance. Although her execution is flawed, LeCompte's fine command of language distinguishes the novel, and announces that she is a writer of promise. 30,000 first printing; $35,000 ad/promo; author tour. (June)
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