Saying Grace

Beth Gutcheon, Author
Beth Gutcheon, Author HarperCollins Publishers $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-017678-5
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-092727-1
Hardcover - 592 pages - 978-1-56865-161-3
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-191000-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 320 pages - 978-0-06-191004-3
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-191006-7
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-191001-2
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In her mid-40s, Rue Shaw, the head of a country day school in a small California town, has much to be thankful for: satisfying and meaningful work; a warm and loving marriage; a talented 19-year-old daughter who has never caused her a moment's worry. Yet in Gutcheon's elegiac fourth novel (after Domestic Pleasures), even a life as well composed and stable as this is vulnerable to unexpected changes. Rue is depicted as a warm, wise woman able to navigate school politics and to accept bravely the changes for her family when her daughter leaves home to attend Julliard. But when an unthinkable disaster occurs, even Rue cannot cope. After an absorbing if slow-paced setup, Gutcheon errs in focusing the denouement too closely on Rue, abandoning the points of view of crucial minor characters (such as the secretary who plays an important role in Rue's marriage) who added dimension to the first half of the story. By relying too heavily on the perspective of a character who responds to heartbreak primarily with dignified composure, this quiet novel fails to deliver sufficient emotional impact. (June)
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