A Natural Curiosity

Margaret Drabble, Author Viking Books $19.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-670-82837-1
Continuing her ironic depiction of ``mean, cold, ugly, divided, tired . . . post-imperial, post-industrial'' Britain, and again taking up the lives of Liz Headleand, Alix Bowen and (only tangentially) Esther Breuer--met in The Radiant Way --Drabble here produces a tighter and more cohesive story, though sometimes burdened with polemic digressions. Obsessed with divining the origin of his gruesome deeds, Alix visits mass murderer Paul Whitmore in prison; psychotherapist Liz, outspoken in her views of child sexuality and sexual abuse, muses that human life ``is nothing but a history of deepening psychosis.'' They and other characters confront the problems of racism, international terrorism, random violence, family relationships in the era of divorce, unemployment and urban blight--a cross-section of the ills for which they hold Margaret Thatcher partially responsible. Alix finds an answer of sorts to the mystery of Whitmore's character; the puzzle of Liz's mother's life, left hanging in the earlier book, is solved; Liz's sister Shirley Harper temporarily disappears and returns a new woman. While Drabble's quirky characters often seem to exist to vent their author's spleen, they animate an involving story. 30,000 first printing; first serial to Harper's; author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-85695-501-0
Hardcover - 978-0-7710-2865-6
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7710-2878-6
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-012228-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 308 pages - 978-0-7710-2866-3
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