World Without Wool Shops

Dulan Barber, Author Marion Boyars Publishers $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7145-2902-8
Predictable plotting and one-dimensional characterization mar this study of a British middle-class marriage gone awry. Neither advertising executive Marcus Sharkey, nor his wife, Dolly, a writer, know precisely when or why their relationship became unsatisfying. The couple would never have separated, however, if Marcus had not been seduced by James Swallol, his psychiatrist. The Svengali-like Swallol persuades Marcus to leave his wife and start an affair with a crude but good-hearted plumber. Dolly painfully rebuilds her life in a rural English village, becoming fascinated with an ethereal local artist, Clodagh, who makes knitted sculptures and is living in a sort of commune in the woods. She also becomes caught up in the anti-nuclear demonstrations at a local peace camp. Marcus is faced with a serious and shocking dilemma when he learns that Swallol is dying of AIDS, and both Marcus and his plumber lover test HIV-positive. Any doubts on Marcus's part as to his sexual orientation vanish as he throws himself into working for an AIDS foundation. Barber's timely observations about AIDS are obscured in the concluding chapters, which veer into melodrama. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
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