Steps of the Sun

Eva Thaddeus, Author Ariadne Press (MD) $21.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-918056-09-2
Ambitious but misguided, Thaddeus's debut is based on William Blake's theme of contraries, as illustrated in his The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. This contemporary tale, however, never quite takes off. Its three main characters are either repulsive or attractive, lovable or hateful, but these opposing qualities never spark together to produce the dynamic, surprising results that Thaddeus intends. Lucretia is a 40-year-old, foul-mouthed intellectual who insinuates herself into everyone's business while raising hell wherever she can. Gabe, 28, also known as Angel Gabriel, runs a soup kitchen for the homeless while he struggles to find meaning in his life. Emily, who occupies an innocent middle ground between bad Lucretia and good Gabe, is a college freshman who chooses a cooperative living arrangement to introduce some excitement in her otherwise bland existence. Thaddeus stages interactions among these three disparate souls and others at the ""Lost and Found"" storefront mission, attempting to propel the story forward. But there is no real chemistry, largely because character development is reduced to cartoonish exaggeration: Lucretia isn't just a snake ""despised and condemned to crawl on her belly through life"" but a screaming snake. Although Thaddeus's ambitions are applaudable, her contrived plot and creaky prose feel more fake than Blake. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
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