Women of Guinea Lane

Gabriel Fielding, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $18.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-09-163980-8
John Blaydon, the hero of earlier Fielding novels, here embarks on his medical career as a junior doctor at the New Guinea Lane Hospital near London in 1942. The ``rural and completely chaotic'' hospital is in the charge of a ``rather weird Scot,'' Dr. Gillespie, an extraordinary creation with an extravagant brogue rich in Celtic expression, poetic quotations and piquant wit. Tortured by his guilt over the deaths of his youthful love Victoria and his brother David, needy, passionate Blaydon is angered and frustrated by having to report to coolly self-sufficient surgeon Chlorinda Graemes. Meanwhile, he becomes simultaneously involved with both bouncy, sexy Nurse Lynton and pallidly fey, consumptive typist Minna Frobisher. When bellicose, misogynistic Major ``Kit'' Bellayr becomes a patient in the hospital, he stirs up Blaydon's demons, the dark side of his character, which Gillespie and the spiritual, maternal Sister Thorpe help Blaydon to exorcise. Fielding's ( The Birthday King ) powers seem undiminished by the passage of time, and his recollections of wartime Britain have a vivid immediacy. He weaves a rich, complex tapestry in which drama and humor mingle, and, drawing on his medical experience, depicts sex and death unsentimentally. The seemingly arbitrary, unfashioned ending reminds one that this is but a fragment of the ongoing account of the life of John Blaydon, of which one hopes that Fielding will recount more. (October)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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