The Hurricane Season

Rosemary Daniell, Author
Rosemary Daniell, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (363p) ISBN 978-0-688-08860-6
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In a dense narrative studded with vivid imagery, Easter O'Brian looks back on her life from the vantage point of late middle age and some renown as a painter. Born in Alabama to a sexually abusive, alcoholic father and a frightened, passive mother, Easter escapes her ugly existence through art. An unwed teenage mother, she manages to marry a college boy, vowing to suppress her creative urges and to become the perfect suburban housewife. Creativity soon bursts out and transforms her once again, this time into a freethinking hippie artist in New Orleans. Her preoccupation with sex and her controversial paintings, however, reveal a tormented mind; her son's mental illness and her daughter's heroin addiction constantly remind Easter of her ``failure'' as a mother and the price she has paid for her art. In her first novel, the author of the nonfiction Sleeping with Soldiers and Fatal Flowers spins a tale of passionate feeling and profound struggle. Here, as in her other works, Daniell's prose is sometimes as lamentably excessive as the emotions and incidents she explores, but her fierce engagement with her characters makes this novel a powerful reading experience. ( Oct. )
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