Cradle Song

Jane Rawlinson, Author St. Martin's Press $12.95 (174p) ISBN 978-0-312-17075-2
A Gothic tale set in Africa, this is a sad and portentous book, the language hushed and dark, the rhythms slow and heavy. It tells of Ursula and George, white Kenyan farmers, and their daughter Susan, tended by Ayah, who croons to her and caresses her soft, pale hair. Soon after Susan is born, Ayah, only 15, gives birth to a black, bright-eyed boy, whom Ursula, who had determined on a son, calls Isaac (""he who laughs'') and raises like a princeling alongside Susan. The mother roles are reversed, but whereas Ursula supervises Susan dutifully, Isaac delightedly, Ayah has heartroom for both. When Susan turns four, a great party is held, during the course of which one of the children dies. More tragedies ensue against the contrapuntal background of Ayah's and Ursula's shatteringly different manifestations of maternal love. This is a mesmerizing story by the author of The Lion and the Lizard. (December 15
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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