A Season of Peace

G. E. Armitage, Author St. Martin's Press $12.95 (191p) ISBN 978-0-312-70824-5
The narrator of this quietly accomplished first novel (runner-up for Britain's Trask Award in 1985) has just learned of the death of his only child, a British soldier killed in an IRA bombing in Northern Ireland. As the grief-stricken father and his distraught wife await the return of the young man's remains, the father's sorrow takes the form of reliving the early days of his now-foundering marriage, his undemonstrative love for his son, his own experiences after World War II as an army engineer engaged in dismantling a coastal anti-aircraft battery. He also reflects on his complex friendship with Mary, a scruffy adolescent gamin living nearby. The release of Mary's father from hospital in London, where he has been a patient since demobilization, and his return to the small, ingrown seaside community charge the atmosphere with ambiguity and menace. The narrative moves between these two periods, which in unexpected ways reflect each other, as it explores subtly shifting relationships and examines the nature of loss and grief, marriage and parenthood, and the disappointments and compromises of which most lives are composed. (May 20)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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