The Chinchilla Farm

Judith Freeman, Author W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-393-02722-8
Most of the delightful cast of eccentrics who populate this first novel are Mormons whose insular community Freeman ( Family Attractions ) re-creates expertly. When Verna Fields's husband of 17 years leaves her for a woman named Pinky, Verna quits her job at a bowling alley and sets out on a picaresque journey to make a new life for herself in L.A. The first thing she does is locate ``kin'': an old friend from Utah now married to a classical musician named Vincent, who comes to look upon country music aficionado Verna as his ``muse''; an elderly aunt and uncle; and Inez, her late brother's widow, to whom life has not been kind. Desperate to flee her current unhappy marriage to an abusive drunk, Inez enlists Verna's help and they flee to Mexico with Inez's husband in pursuit, a trip that ends in tragedy. A skillful storyteller, Freeman effectively mixes light and dark humor. The moral, that the labels society gives us--Mormon, alcoholic, divorcee--don't do justice to the human condition, is a timely one. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-0-679-73052-1
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