Women and Horses

Candida Baker, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (191p) ISBN 978-0-312-07127-1
This first novel by Australian journalist Baker starts off with a pair of epithets, each containing the somewhat unfortunate title phrase, ``women and horses.'' The horse theme is one of several thin threads that don't quite manage to pull together this unsuccessful tapestry of family saga, soap opera and Arthurian legend. We follow three central women characters, all equestriennes, through their romantic, emotional and professional crises. Deborah Jeffries is a freelance journalist living in contemporary Sydney; she is the daughter of Emily Robertson, whose story begins when she is a young mother in England, slowly losing control of her world to the bottle. In addition, there is the tale of Queen Guinevere of Camelot, mostly standard but including a few sophomorically feminist twists (Gwen gets PMS and could be the best jouster at court if only she were allowed to fight). Baker flits from one story to the next, almost paragraph by paragraph; her effort to interweave the Arthurian and the modern narratives is particularly graceless and predictable. Transitions are choppy, and the novel lacks the assured prose that could help to redeem its troubled structure. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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