Why Sarah Ran Away with the Veterinarian

Liz Newall, Author, Liz Newell, Author
Liz Newall, Author, Liz Newell, Author Permanent Press (NY) $22 (171p) ISBN 978-1-877946-45-5
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With five different narrators whose voices are indistinguishable from one another, and frequent lapses into heavyhanded metaphor and diction that sounds appropriate to a glossy ladies' magazine, this first novel needed further fine-tuning. Sarah Crawford Brighton has been married to Jack, a walking Consumer Guide and numbers nut, for 20 years. Now 40, Sarah is childless; several pregnancies ended in miscarriages, and future babies are precluded by Jack's vasectomy. So Sarah acquires a horse and soon runs off West with its peripatetic veterinarian, Michael, who she eventually learns was ``looking to see'' while Sarah ``was looking to find.'' The women she leaves behind-sister Donna, mother Vivienne, aunt Kate-fight the risks that their own restlessness brings. Another point of view comes from Donna's professor husband, Andrew, who offers a psychological assessment of Sarah's behavior. When Sarah abruptly returns to her Carolina home for a family funeral, she learns that her mother once faced the same dilemma she now confronts-marriage to one man, pregnancy by another-and she knows from experience that the child will grow up ``feeling something isn't right, but not knowing what.'' The puzzle of whether to remain with Jack or to join Michael brings Sarah to the novel's denouement. The concept behind this brief story is good, but its delivery lacks technique and polish. (Nov.)
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