The Native

David Plante, Author Atheneum Books $13.95 (122p) ISBN 978-0-689-11951-4
In this illuminating addition to the highly accomplished sequence of novels Plante has written about the French Canadian Francoeur family of Providence, R.I., he focuses on college-age Antoinette, the daughter of Philip, one of the Francoeur brothers; her mother, Jenny; and her ""memere,'' Philip's mother. Every word in this compressed narrative is valuable for both abstract and concrete purposes; Plante's themesalienation, the power of the will, the place of God in everyday life, the psychic conflicts that come from living (and literally traveling by train and car) between two worldsare the story. Plante highlights the emotional fire with icicle-clear writing and evocatively delineates Antoinette's inner struggle between the attractive claustrophia of the ``Canuck'' world, as symbolized by her grandmother, and the frightening possibilities of the world in which she has grown up. For her father, escape from his family led to marriage to a charming, ebullient Texan; his daughter's search for self-understanding plays out what he finds difficult to recognize in his own soul. Antoinette's mother, ever the ambassador of goodwill, is better in her own unselfconscious way at straddling the two communities, and she is a marvelous character. Through the wars of will within Philip and Antoinette, and even more compellingly within the aging but still magically alluring Memere, Plante masterfully illustrates the inner struggle that is life. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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