My Father's Moon

Elizabeth Jolley, Author HarperCollins Publishers $15.95 (171p) ISBN 978-0-06-016062-3
Darker in tone than her recent The Sugar Mother , Jolley's new novel establishes a somber, brooding atmos phere in the first of 10 interlocking segments, then flashes back to the circumstances that led to Vera Wright's current plight and bleak future. Brought up in a lower-class neighborhood in an English mining town by parents who scrimp to send her to boarding school and nursing college, Vera is self-conscious about her clothes, accent and lack of breeding. She feels closed out of the charmed circled of privileged girls, a prey to ``unutterable loneliness,'' but she feeds her soul with music and literature and with the memory of her father's admonishment to remember that the moon she sees in the sky is shining on him too. Vera finds some fulfillment in a lesbian relationship with another nurse trainee, and yearns for the love of an older staff nurse who has been kind to her. But when she thinks she has been befriended by a staff doctor and his wife, brought into ``respectable'' society at last, she is instead heartlessly exploited, seduced and betrayed. With her baby daughter, she faces a life of ``sorrow and futility.'' Vera's self-absorbed account is related against the background of WW II and the London Blitz, encapsulated in a few vivid images: a mournful procession of wagons bring the wounded men to the hospital; a young soldier's wound erupts with mag gots, which run over the bed and floor. Though the novel's segments do not always connect seamlessly, the motivations of several characters are not clear, and some Briticisms and allusions are obscure, Jolley's power to convey the anguish of sensitive, lonely people creates a haunting narrative. (Apr . )
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-06-091659-6
Hardcover - 171 pages - 978-0-670-82267-6
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