Waiting for Rain

Indiana Nelson, Author
Indiana Nelson, Author Random House (NY) $18.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-394-57774-6
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
As Jewel McAllister, the protagonist of this often confusing and frustrating narrative, struggles to find purpose in her existence, the reader also waits for Jewel's life to make sense, struggling to understand the purpose of this debut novel. We first meet Jewel at age 14, when she is banished from her family's Arizona cattle ranch to live with posh Manhattan relatives, including Auntie Mame clone Aunt Nanine. Also central to the serpentine plot is exotic Madeleine Boldiszar, who may have pushed Jewel's father off the Empire State Building. A pave diamond peacock (symbolizing either evil or freedom) joins everyone's destinies. For 28 years, Jewel's and Madeleine's slippery paths intertwine, as these occasional alter egos travel far from home, yearning for ``the rain'' (symbolizing either rebirth or freedom). Nelson's seductive descriptions of dreamy Venice and the sizzling Arizona desert, along with her amusing, incisive characterizations of Southampton and Venetian socialites, almost redeem the novel. But a surfeit of improbable characters and phony dialogue will probably try the reader's patience. (Apr.)
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