Harry and Catherine: A Love Story

Frederick Busch, Author
Frederick Busch, Author Alfred A. Knopf $18.95 (290p) ISBN 978-0-394-57425-7
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
A highly intelligent writer with romance in his soul, Busch ( Absent Friends ) here depicts middle-aged love between two beguiling characters. Off-and-on lovers for more than a dozen years, the eponymous protagonists reencounter each other when Harry, former idealistic journalist turned press-aide hack to a liberal senator, journeys to a small community in upstate New York to investigate rumors that a local developer plans to pave over an old cemetery for runaway slaves in order to create a mall parking lot. That the contractor just happens to be Catherine's current lover is an ironic wrinkle that plagues Harry's conscience--but not too much. Fiercely independent since her divorce, Catherine has done a fine job of raising her two sons; now she is not sure that she wants to share her life with either of her suitors. Busch's ease and joy in accreting descriptive detail into a scene rich in metaphor (as when Harry and Catherine prepare her garden for the winter) is somewhat vitiated by his tendency to overdo introspection and stint on action. (His characters--including the men--also have an unfortunate tendency to giggle at dramatic moments.) But his sharp edge of humor, his skill with dialogue and his beautifully nuanced prose make Busch's novels as satisfying as the hearty meals his characters cook. (Mar.)
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