Springs of Living Water

Karen Lawrence, Author Villard Books $17.95 (273p) ISBN 978-0-394-56808-9
While Lawrence's W. H. Smith Award-winning first novel, The Life of Helen Alone , revolved around the protagonist's attempts to fit into the family she inherited by marriage, her latest heroine, Min, is trying to re-create her family to fit her image of it. In searching for the ancestral past she hopes will bring her to terms with her present, Min travels from her California home to her birthplace in Wyandotte, Ontario, and finally to the homeland of her Irish forebears. Occasionally the journey--and the plot--seems rather haphazard: for example, Min's musings on her unknown grandmother's life form an early refrain and then disappear with no explanation. And, perhaps inevitably, descriptions of Min's bohemian artist lifestyle in California are a trifle hackneyed: ``She had all the restless appetite of someone still learning the reach of her craft. . . . Alert, antennalike, her eyes and fingers sensed, recorded, reached, gave her the place for a few moments, an hour. . . .'' But happily, once the narrative settles in Min's (and Lawrence's) native Canada, the writing is at the author's evocative and moving best. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
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