A Cure for Dreams

Kaye Gibbons, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $16.95 (182p) ISBN 978-0-945575-33-7
Further enchancing her reputation as a chronicler of small-town life in the South, Gibbons ( Ellen Foster ) limns an engaging portrait of a possessive mother and her obedient daughter as the foreground of a larger canvas depicting women's roles in a society bound by tradition, convention and poverty. Deliberately old-fashioned in prose style, down to the chapter headings reminiscent of 19th-century novels, this slim volume is narrated by Betty Randolph, who tells of her domineering mother's life: how she rejected her husband after Betty was born and was relieved to be left a young widow and the ``queen bee'' of the community; how mother and daughter became inseparable, until Betty was in her 20s and suddenly realized she was on her way to spinsterhood. The plot is a series of loosely connected vignettes, enlivened by Betty's tart comments and the pithy aphorisms of plain country folk (of an officious woman, Betty says, ``I`m sure when she died and entered heaven she asked to see the upstairs''). Gibbons conveys the atmosphere of the Depression and World War II with frequent comments about Presidents Hoover and FDR, and such period detail as the birth of the Dionne quintuplets. Though entertaining, the novel is short on suspense, however; one of the few instances of narrative tension turns on the question of why Betty's suitor has blue lips. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-517-11450-6
Open Ebook - 250 pages - 978-1-56512-690-9
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