A Working Mother

Agnes Owens, Author Bloomsbury Publishing PLC $17.95 (187p) ISBN 978-0-7475-1714-6
Expertly wrought and darkly comic, this novel, set in Scotland 10 years after WWII, relates domestic trials and workplace tribulations through the ironic, grim outlook of a narrator known only as Betty. Married to Adam, who has been depressed, unemployed and alcoholic since the war, Betty becomes a temp to support him and their two children, as well as to ``save up for a divorce.'' Her job as a secretary at a law firm turns full-time when her lecherous boss, Mr. Robson, a widower, takes a peculiar liking to her, inviting her to his house on weekends to help him with an odd book he is writing on human behavior in animals. Meanwhile, Betty is conducting a risky affair with a young, wimpy friend of her husband's. When not juggling infantile men, the working mother is visiting her fortuneteller--despite whose advice her life continues to spin downward, absurdly out of control. Owens (Gentlemen of the West) presents Betty's outrageously cynical, possibly deranged view of the world in a persuasively flat and eccentric manner. When her crusty exterior occasionally cracks to reveal a fragile, sensitive soul who longs for a better life, therefore, the revelation is all the more moving. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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