Casualties

Lynne Reid Banks, Author
Lynne Reid Banks, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (243p) ISBN 978-0-312-01013-3
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
When another of the vituperative quarrels between househusband Cal and his breadwinner wife, romance-novelist Sue, is interrupted by a telephone call from Holland, it's a welcome respite. Sue's friend from student days, Mariolain, asks if her husband, Niels, can stay with them while he is in London. Subsequently, Mariolain reciprocates, and the two couples and their children spend an Easter vacation together. Mariolain, whose home and family Sue finds a shaming contrast to her own messy menage, reveals to Sue her childhood experiences during the Occupation and the complex reasons for the difficulties she and Neils are experiencing in their apparently perfect marriage. Banks (The Warning Bell) makes the bonds between the two women and the immediate understanding reestablished between them tremendously moving. Shattering details of wartime hardships and childhood abuse are insinuated into matter-of-fact particulars about daily domestic routines. A visit to the house where Mariolain and her sister hid during the Nazi Occupation provides a catharsis for the reader as well. As the vacation ends, each couple has a new realization of the love they bear each other, and the children have grown up a little and learned something about tolerance. To call this a woman's book is no criticism; Banks's achievement here evidences that blend of intellect and emotion that is called feminine. (September 24)
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