Mr. Field's Daughter

Richard Bausch, Author Simon & Schuster $18.45 (347p) ISBN 978-0-671-64051-4
The sensitivity to emotional nuances that Bausch's work has always demonstrated, especially in last year's short-story collection, Spirits , is again evident in this deeply felt novel that explores the ties between father and daughter. When teenaged Annie Field runs off from her home in Duluth to marry feckless drug dealer Cole Gilbertson, her father, James, who has raised her on his own, is devastated. His heartbreak begins to heal when Annie leaves Cole and returns home with her four-year-old daughter Linda. Over the next few years, Field becomes as attached to Linda as he was to her mother, and is ambivalent about Annie's imminent remarriage to an older man. Before this can take place, however, a dangerously paranoid Cole comes back into their lives, determined to reclaim his daughter, and violent confrontation becomes inevitable. Bausch takes a bit too long to explain the origins of Annie's rash behavior and her reticence in its aftermath, making it difficult initially to sympathize with her actions. James is the character to whom one warms; his sincerity and bewilderment are quite credible, as is his eventual recognition that his overprotective, smothering upbringing of Annie was largely responsible for her need to escape. The fluidity and economy of Bausch's prose and the acuity of his understanding of the wellsprings of human behavior are among the satisfactions of this novel. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 347 pages - 978-0-02-028145-0
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