In the Dark

R. M. Lamming, Author Atheneum Books $12.95 (230p) ISBN 978-0-689-11629-2
Perhaps the least credible element in this slowly emerging portrait of Arnold Lawson as he sinks into bitter old age is the appearance at his door of Moira Gelling, a celebrity hunter who entices him into behavior not always appropriate to his 84 years. Until then, he had been inured to silent communication with his vast store of rare books, to the prescribed daily walk, and especially to torturing the taciturn drudge who keeps his house pristine and leavens his vegetarian diet with puddings and pastry. But he becomes obsessed with Moira, joins her literary club, boasts of old conquests, drinks himself into a heart attack and, bent on staying alive, allows his housekeeper to nurse him. Although in the course of recovering, and for some time before his illness, he recognizes that Moira equally repels and attracts him, he remains her prey and accepts, with a sense of doom, her invitation to Christmas dinner. Here, however, the housekeeper decides to step out of her usual role, and the lesson she teaches Arnold brings to a sobering climax a book whose insights into aging and reclusiveness have the sad persuasiveness of truth. January 21
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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