SPADEWORK

Timothy Findley, Author . HarperCollins $23.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-019472-7

Bestselling Canadian writer Findley, whose stylish and complexly plotted novels have acquired an appreciative audience, here departs from his usual dark scenarios to produce an erotically powered narrative in which all's well that ends well. The setting is the town of Stratford, Ontario, home of the Shakespeare Festival. Findley (Pilgrim) knows this world well, and he conveys it with atmospheric detail. The inadequacy of mere ambition, even when one has talent, is the lesson learned by rising actor Griffin Kincaid, when he realizes that luck and fate can also play havoc with dreams of theatrical stardom. After Kincaid refuses a sexual proposition by his manipulative homosexual director, Jonathan Crawford, he is denied the roles he'd been promised. Griffin's wife, Jane, a Louisiana set designer for the theater, is bitter because Griffin refuses to let her use her substantial inherited income to buy a home in which to raise their seven-year-old son. When, by chance, her gardener cuts a buried phone line, dramatic events ensue. The telephone repairman is a young Polish immigrant, inarticulate but strangely beautiful, and Jane is aroused. Attracted to the repairman yet worried by Griffin's inattention, Jane suspects that her husband is having an affair with an actress. Then she realizes he has capitulated to Jonathan's demands. Despite being a sexual bully, Jonathan is acutely sensitive to Shakespeare, and his insights are enlightening. A hopeful ending provides uplift, but does not, unfortunately, compensate for shopworn characterization and the overdone Tennessee Williams atmosphere. For Findley, this is a curiously slapdash performance. (Jan. 11)

Reviewed on: 11/26/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-00-639307-8
Open Ebook - 978-0-06-184983-1
Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4434-0223-1
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