Cliff Walk

Margaret Dickson, Author
Margaret Dickson, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $16.95 (242p) ISBN 978-0-395-41106-3
Reviewed on: 02/01/1987
Release date: 02/01/1987
The cliff of the title is on the coast of Maine, and the walk is a desperate night chase coming at the end of this novel by the author of Octavia's Hill and Maddy's Song. When Crelly Kemp's parents died, she and her brothers Jimmy and Gene went to live with an aunt and uncle in a ramshackle house in interior Maine. The two adults attempt to draw the children into their perversions, and one cold night nine-year-old Crelly flees to the farm of other relatives, where she is given refuge and love, no questions asked. Years later, on a dramatics scholarship at a state college, Crelly meets and marries John Werner, a talented young mathematician. The marriage falters early, with help from John's intrusive mother, and at the same time Crelly is approached again by her brother Gene, who has taken on the horrifying appetites of those who raised him. When Crelly and John attempt reconciliation at the island home of John's beloved mathematics mentor, Gene follows, desperate with desire and need. The chase that night offers hope to Crelly and John, if they can survive. Dickson's prose is powerful and deeply textured. Utterly without sentiment, her evocation of evil is as uncompromising as the harsh, dark landscape these characters inhabit. (February 25)
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