Mad Hannah Rafferty

Tony Sullivan, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-233-98505-3
This second novel from a praised British writer ( The Palm House ) is a disturbing parable of contemporary psychic and social illness. In the persona of Hannah Rafferty, a child of the late '50s, brought up in a socialistic ethos, madness explodes with special ferocity. Hannah seems fated to be a Trotskyite; indeed, she becomes one when she takes a lover after her student days in London. Earlier, with Jack Rafferty, her idolized, idealistic father, she had been a schoolgirl marcher in Liverpool worker demonstrations. At home with Jack as ally, she battled the smothering Catholicism of her stepmother. Hannah's edging into dementia--the breaking point being the death of her unwanted baby--is almost foreordained. Yet it is in a mental hospital (where she is writing her memoirs on a toilet-paper roll in a lavatory cubicle) that she begins to piece her life together. Rejecting a turncoat lover and an earth mother, the controlling head of her extended bohemian family, Hannah is a militant survivor. At its best in evoking the relationship between father and daughter, this ironically humorous, compelling novel traces the fading away of young revolutionaries into lives dimmed by harsh realities. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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