Three Times Table

Sara Maitland, Author Henry Holt & Company $18.45 (216p) ISBN 978-0-8050-1576-8
Maitland's ( Virgin Territory ) sublimely executed blend of realism and magic begins as each of a trio of women--a grandmother, her daughter and granddaughter--pauses in exhaustion after a ``very tiring day.'' Their respective pasts are then examined, gradually exposing the events that led to this moment. Rachel Petherington is a septuagenarian, a widowed paleontologist who fearfully changes her long-held Darwinist notions about dinosaurs to embrace the theory that their extinction occurred catastrophically, thus rendering unsound her previous ideas of a more recently evolved ``dragon type.'' Her rebellious daughter, Phoebe, who lives with her and finds gardening more fulfilling than the mathematics career her parents expected, is threatened by breast cancer. Phoebe's illegitimate 15-year-old daughter, Maggie, is on the verge of womanhood but, to cross that boundary, must challenge the power of Fenna, a possessive dragon that has been her undisclosed companion for 10 years. Maitland expertly peels away layers of mystery and misunderstanding, allowing the novel to come full circle in a quite satisfying way. The resolution is strong but flawed by a disappointing final chapter, which closes an otherwise complete and believable fantasy on an overly whimsical, even silly note. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 978-0-8050-2923-9
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