Lament for a Silver-Eyed Woman

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, Author
Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, Author William Morrow & Company $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06614-7
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
Smith's critically applauded first novel, The Book of Phoebe, was charming and fey, with just enough hints of a deeper, darker view of life to augur well for this one, which richly fulfills her promise. The narrator, Mattie Price, meets her alter ego Jo Parsons when they are in grade school in the '50s. Although their backgrounds are strikingly dissimilar, their friendship becomes even stronger through their college days at Bryn Mawr, adventures in Italy, Paris and Hawaii and, eventually, the Peace Corps in Cameroon. Jo is the stronger personality, passionately idealistic and committed to social activism; Mattie, who wants to be a writer, promises to be Jo's ""family'' forever. Their paths separate: Jo marries a leader of the PLO and lives in the Shatila refugee camp, and Mattie returns to her hometown and weds a man whose disowned father had been a Nazian ironic twist, since Mattie's first love was a Holocaust survivor. These relationships intersect in the book's denouement, a shattering scene of the Shatila massacre. Throughout, Smith keeps the reader riveted, her voice first jaunty and irreverent, then increasingly portentous as events turn tragic. This is a novel about friendship, love and loyalty, about betrayal, and about justice. While there are some lapses in credibility, on the whole the book makes a vivid impact. (July 17)
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