The Governess

Patricia Angadi, Author Victor Gollancz $0 (181p) ISBN 978-0-575-03485-3
Drama is inherent in the tales told by the eight narrators of this novel, all but one of whom is in love with the title character. She is Miss Herring, called Herry, and she affects those around her in generally unsalutary ways. We see her first through the eyes of Eleanor, mother of the six children whom Herry is to care for, and then via Miles, the eldest, a soppy sort who dares not admit how much he enjoys sitting on Herry's lap. He is rather like his father, the family cipher to whom Herry also brings solace.The most interesting of the children are John and James, identical twins who are cajoled by the governess into growing apart, to the benefit of neither. None of the other threeJustus, the second son, a know-it-all prig, Helen the older daugher, dissatisfied and querulous even as a child, and Margaret, the youngest, desperately seeking loveis on stage long enough to ensnare the reader. The use of so many narrators to chronicle their increasingly close alliances with Herry and resultant distance from the family and each other does not really work. Absorbed self-scrutiny coupled with passionate regard for a woman whose charms are never made apparent requires greater evocative skill than this author displays. February
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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