The Widows' Adventures

Charles Dickinson, Author William Morrow & Company $18.95 (381p) ISBN 978-0-688-08924-5
``Two o'clock in the morning, the eleventh day of September, a Monday. For the occasion, Helene wore new sunglasses with water-blue lenses and lemon frames. She sucked on a chip of ice. They were traveling toward California at 12 miles per hour.'' Dickinson's ( Crows ) new novel tells the story of recently widowed elderly sisters Ina and Helene, who resolve to leave their suburban Chicago neighborhood behind, master their fear of loneliness and drive to Los Angeles. Because only Helene knows how to drive, and she is blind, the stages of their roadside odyssey are negotiated late at night at low speeds on rural byways. For a month or two, the women live out a parable of lives linked in mutual dependence, confronting the problems of aging and death as they go. Asking us to think more than feel, Dickinson offers a tightly constructed, highly deliberate narrative; in sketching character, he prefers to suggest by omission rather than throw aside the veil and penetrate motivation directly. The strategy will intrigue some readers and frustrate others, but his accumulated insights, and the rhythm at which he reveals them, will linger and leave a lasting impression. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Paperback - 386 pages - 978-0-380-70847-5
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-238782-0
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