The Warning Bell

Lynne Reid Banks, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (344p) ISBN 978-0-312-00017-2
Banks ( The L-Shaped Room eloquently depicts Maggie Robertson, a woman encumbered by guilt and ambivalence because she shunned her father's repressive, antiquated beliefs. While living with her family in Scotland after WW II, Maggie decides she cannot be the subservient spinster her father envisions. Mr. Robertson rages when he learns that Maggie has enrolled in drama school, and at his instigation the teacher who aided her is fired. Although Maggie has talent, discouraging periods of unemployment plus persistent remorse cause her to marry a man she doesn't love and accompany him to Nigeria. Just as she could not give herself completely to acting, Maggie withholds uninhibited devotion from Matt, her son, whose loyalty belongs to the Ibo tribeswoman who nurtured him. Finally, Maggie and Matt return to London, where she must decide whether to prod the dormant instincts connecting her with ""primitive sources of feeling and being,'' or be forever enslaved by propriety, indecisiveness and fear. Banks describes Maggie's arduous maturation with compassion and lyricism; insights into the vagaries of the acting profession add to the book's veracity. (January 12)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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