The Perfect Sonya

Beverly Lowry, Author Viking Books $16.95 (242p) ISBN 978-0-670-81413-8
This new novel by the author of Daddy's Girl will add to her reputation as an original, talented writer; it is not, however, an entirely successful effort. Recalled from New York to her father's deathbed in Texas, Pauline searches for a reason to grieve for him through intricately manipulated flashbacks and dreams. What begins as a casual seduction of her aunt's husband develops a disorienting intensity for her. In New York, where Pauline returns to husband and acting career (her one great triumph has been in Chekhov, prompting a theater critic to call her ""the perfect Sonya''), her emotional paralysis increases until the novel threatens to become a psychiatric case history. Pauline emerges as an unaffectedly honest and sensuous woman almost despite Lowry's unwillingness to integrate the vivid but discrete moments she painstakingly details. Pauline's return trip to visit the uncle some years later provides an unconvincingly simple resolution to the paradoxes of her character. The complex woman Lowry attempts to portray never assumes a clear synthesis. The reader might conclude that Pauline's anomie is a result of her fragmented personality, but one wants more from a novel than a do-it-yourself character analysisespecially with such an engaging heroine. (June 16p
Reviewed on: 06/01/1987
Release date: 06/01/1987
Paperback - 242 pages - 978-0-14-009654-5
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