The Saviors

Helen Yglesias, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $17.45 (306p) ISBN 978-0-395-35419-3
Yglesias's latest novel begins wonderfully, with a group of doughty old leftists taking part in a demonstration, and later, in their hotel rooms, dealing with the various problems of old age, attended by eager, uncomprehending youngsters. But for most of its course it relates the early life of Maddy Phillips, who is initiated into a cultish and peripatetic religious group in the '20s and becomes romantically involved with a beautiful and selfish young Indian guru, Vidhya. She also has an enduring friendship with a tough-minded dancer, Victoria. All of this is beautifully written, with a sure sense of the agony of growing up in a deeply perplexing and perversely corrupt world. Unfortunately, however, Yglesias fails to maintain the link with the Reds-style group met in the initial chaptersyet they are so much more engaging and sympathetically drawn than the younger characters. Perhaps Yglesias (Sweetsir intended to write a novel showing how the old peoples' lives were shaped, but got stuck in the past. In any case, it reads as if a moving and original book somehow got away, and a highly talented but less interesting one took its place. Major ad/promo. (August 27)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
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