The Singing: A Fable about What Makes Us Human

Theron Raines, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $0 (163p) ISBN 978-0-87113-177-5
This slim novel, by a well-known New York literary agent, is both disarming and rather irritating. Though sweet-natured and pleasantly written, it suffers from overweening ambition and its proportions are all wrong. The heroine, Mary Alice, a nice girl who works, somewhat improbably, in a cutthroat New York ad agency, meets Forrest, a visitor from Mars, when he crash-lands his flying saucer atop the Guggenheim Museum. Mary Alice is looking for Mr. Right, and Forrest is looking to implant Martian seed in an earthling; the makings, clearly, of what could be an engaging adult fairy tale. However, Raines becomes so bogged down in the creation of a creaky and over-familiar Martian history of super-consciousnessdevoting to it what seems like endless pagesthat the reader longs to return to Mary Alice and Forrest and their otherworldly problems. In the end, the story is wrapped up glibly, and the reader, who has been taught during the narrative to be critical of our world and its ways, is left with a stirring peroration about the glories of Earth. Both romance readers and science fiction buffs are likely to feel there's too much of what they don't want here. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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