The Blue Nature

Suzanne Hamilton Free, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (418p) ISBN 978-0-312-02549-6
Writers say the most difficult sentence to write is the first; Free's, in her resonant debut novel, gives little hint of the pure pleasures to come. It is Lent, Maddie Cameron is trying to stay awake and her husband is in Cincinnati with ``a carful of Elders.'' Maddie's husband is a clergyman of most Christian virtue who cherishes her despite the depression that afflicts and practically paralyzes her. As she works through her debilitating illness, Maddie recalls her childhood in an eccentric and memorable family, and especially her poet-grandmother Bert and her uncle Deane. She comes to terms with the tragedy of Deane's disappearance in the wastes of Alaska, and comprehends anew the special tie between Bert, Deane and herself. What they share is ``the blue nature,'' the curse/gift of clear vision that sees the world plain, with no filter to keep out the cruelty beside the beauty, to see the lily and not the muck. Free writes smoothly and has a sure sense of the ridiculous and the sublime that gives the reader great pleasure. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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