Second Sight

Anne Redmon, Author Dutton Books $17.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-525-24605-3
The promise Redmon showed in Emily Stone and Music and Silence is, unfortunately, not sustained in her most recent endeavor. Narrator Irene Ward, an epileptic blessedor cursedwith second sight, returns home to mull over the mysterious deaths of her older siblings, the twins Mathilde and Durrand. Irene's tremulous narration is interspersed with painful memories of growing up in genteel poverty in Baltimore. Products of an alcoholic mother and homosexual father, all three children are emotionally stunted. Irene, the most normal of the lot, becomes a schoolteacher. Mathilde restores icons, while Durrand joins a fanatical religious order called the Holy Compassionate. After Durrand is struck and killed by a train, Mathilde persuades her younger sister to accompany her on a tour of the Soviet Union, Mongolia and China. It is here that the novel abruptly turns ghoulish. The sisters are haunted by their brother's ghost, a distinctly malevolent presence. Redmon's quiet sense of humor and sensitivity to subtle power struggles between individuals are missing here. It's almost as if they've been blunted by the unrelenting misery of her characters. (February)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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