Lydia Chronicles

Doris Read, Author Dutton Books $15.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-525-24977-1
Read's first book is a collection of linked stories that chronicle the adventures of Lydia, a widow in her early 60s, who relocates from Illinois to Los Barcos, Calif., ``in search of a new life, or at least some high jinks.''1 She seems to find what she wants, moving in with John Herman, aka Herm, in a ``Living Together Arrangement'' designed to let her keep her widow's pension. But the high jinks are somewhat wanting. Read captures the rhythms of the retirees' life with a prose that is fluid and accessible, but her stories, for the most part, lack a sense of adventure. In their limited universe, taking a walk or getting your ears pierced is a big deal--and nothing is more unpleasant than having a neighbor who plays Jimi Hendrix records too loudly or finding a shabby-looking house on an otherwise lovely block. As a result, despite the fact that Read obviously cares for her characters, the stories skim the surface of Lydia and Herm's daily routines rather than plunging into the depths of the couple's inner lives. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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