The Consequences of Loving Syra

Margaret Howe Freydberg, Author Countryman Press $18.95 (403p) ISBN 978-0-88150-168-1
In her fifth novel, the author of Katherine's House and Winter Concert again lyrically considers the nature of love. Unfortunately, the opening sentence, ``Nobody was in a hurry here,'' presages a sluggish pace that combines with minimal action and languid prose to make for often tiresome reading. Free-spirited Syra leaves her restrained husband, Georges, to care for sick cousin Lewis and in the process brings joy, pain and self-discovery to the inhabitants of Lewis's rural neighborhood, and trouble to Rupert and Anne Knight's faltering marriage. Freydberg scrutinizes the murmurings of hearts and minds and the experiences that lead to her characters' flowering--or shriveling--but her long-winded explanations require a sturdier plot to contain and organize them. Her descriptions of the natural country community are enchanting and her examination of womanhood poignant. The dreamy, spongy style that reflects Syra's sensuality prevents other characters from coming fully alive; observed as if through cotton gauze or running water, they remain elusive and unreal. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
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