Ariadne's Children

Roderick Beaton, Author
Roderick Beaton, Author St. Martin's Press $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-13923-0
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-312-30457-7
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In Beaton's first novel, allusions to history, myth, opera, literature and psychoanalysis are as densely packed as the archeological site on Crete that obsesses three generations of Robertsons from 1914 to 1922. The labyrinthine plot, which unfolds within a framing device that begins and ends in Sarajevo, records Lionel Robertson's ""adventure of a lifetime""--his 1920 excavation of Ariadne's summer palace at Ano Meri and its repercussions on the lives of his son and grandson. Years after the fact, a scandal surrounding the dig threatens to tarnish the Robertson name as well as the British archeological establishment. In response, Lionel's grandson Dan embarks on a harrowing quest for identity that frees him from the grip of the past. A brooding, Faulknerian atmosphere hovers over this novel, with its backdrop of war, family secrets and questions of paternity. Beaton's elaborate style is at times portentous, slowing the pace of the narrative. Yet the dogged reader will find this historical adventure-mystery hard to put down, and it will be harder still to be unimpressed by its ambitious, sophisticated themes. (Apr.)
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