Poison

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, Author . Norton $25.95 (606p) ISBN 978-0-393-06101-7

In her 14th novel, Schaeffer (The Snow Fox ) unfurls a sprawling inheritance saga loosely based on the turbulent life and loves of poet Ted Hughes. Writer Peter Grosvenor has always been almost as famous for his womanizing as he is for his poetry. After his first wife, the brilliant poet Evelyn Graves, and his second wife, Elfie, both kill themselves by means of the gas oven, Peter considers himself cursed, poisonous to women. Years later, after his death, Peter's more conventional but aggrieved third wife, Meena, desperate to preserve her wealth and keep up appearances, engages in a battle of wills with Peter's two grown children Sophie and Andrew; his sister, Sigrid; and his would-be biographer, as well as with the woman who might be Peter's last, true love. Rich in fairy tale imagery and in vivid metaphors, the narrative sometimes verges on stream of consciousness, as the text moves through the thoughts of all the major characters as well as those of Peter's anthropomorphized rambling English country cottage, Willow Grove. Despite the pettiness of these wealthy intellectuals, the novel's meditations on the nature of love and marriage and the demands of fame and art emerge as golden glimmers from the dust of a dark life story. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/27/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 606 pages - 978-0-393-32979-7
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