Grace Dane Mazur, Author Nocturnum Press $16.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-9666750-0-9
A naked man appears in the basement of Maggie Gifford's house when her husband is out, and uses the washtub to take a bath. Maggie, who is wandering around the house in the nude, sees him and helps him bathe, still in the buff herself. Later, she discovers that he's living in the woods near her house, having walked out on his wife and his middle-class existence. Soon Maggie realizes that she lives for the moment when she'll encounter him again. Maggie already has two men in love with her--her husband, Hugh, devoted father of their grown children, and Jake, her cousin and neighbor in a small new England town. The man in the woods (his name is Grenville) becomes sexually involved with Maggie and eventually (unbeknownst to Maggie at first), with her daughter. This first novel by the author of a praised collection of short stories (Silk) draws its power from the narration of Jake, who describes himself as a gardener, mail-order minister and remittanceman (his wealthy family pays him to stay away from Newport). He insists he's telling Maggie's story, but it is his own story that takes center stage and keeps us reading. We come to understand the vicissitudes of his relationship with his girlfriend, Sally (who knows that he loves Maggie); his pain at having Maggie confide in him about Grenville; and his own estrangement from his family. The opening washtub scene is less than convincing, but the story gains in strength as it becomes darker and more complicated and relies more on revelation than explanation. Jake's unexpected, affecting reunion with his mother and an incident in which Maggie has a brush with death become crucibles for Jake, whose voice brings the narrative to its poetic conclusion. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 218 pages - 978-1-55597-364-3
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