The Dylanist

Brian Morton, Author
Brian Morton, Author HarperCollins Publishers $20 (312p) ISBN 978-0-06-016662-5
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Paperback - 356 pages - 978-0-425-17226-1
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In this accomplished first novel, Morton perceptively charts the unextraordinary course of Sally Burke, daughter of former Communists, who grows up in the 1970s without a commitment to causes such as those that shaped the lives of her parents. Her mother a dedicated, radical teacher, her father an idealistic union leader, Sally drifts through high school in suburban New Jersey and college (she transfers from Oberlin to Sarah Lawrence), never finding goals to aim for. She lives for a while with her writer boyfriend in Boston, but finally, wrenchingly, faces her limited love for him and moves to New York City. There she works as a teaching aide and meets Ben McMahon, a labor organizer who labels her a Dylanist: ``You don't believe in causes. You only believe in feelings.'' Morton's restrained and unencumbered prose gives authoritative weight to the quiet drama of Sally's coming-of-age, a period marked by her mother's cancer scare and her father's death, in which she, her parents and Ben are substantial, convincing characters. (Aug.)
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