The Wind Changes

Olivia Manning, Author Penguin Books $8.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-14-016219-6
In her first novel, originally published in 1937 and now available in the U.S. for the first time, Manning already displays considerable writing skill, which unfortunately pk is squandered on three self-focused characters, each of whom has only a void at the center of his or her being. In 1921 in Dublin, a city of burned-out shops and nightly gunfire, Sean, a would-be revolutionary, has persuaded Riordan, a leader from the Easter Week rising of 1916, to come out of hiding and join a Catholic revolt. But this serves merely as the backdrop to a narrative of eight days in the lives of Sean, Arion (an Englishman and writer) and Elizabeth (a painter, when she's between love affairs), who are bound in a non-love triangle. Sean tries to draw confidence and power from Arion, while Elizabeth seeks love and understanding; Arion himself is sublimely independent, callously indifferent to their needs. Sean and Elizabeth, who are jealous of each other, form a brief, unsatisfactory relationship, a poor substitute for the self-sufficiency that, like a genuine solution to Ireland's troubles, seems ever to elude them. Manning's works include the Balkan and Levant trilogies. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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