In his first conference with dumpy, insecure Amy Delatour, student teacher Martin Stone asks her to remove her glasses and...

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SMOULDERING FIRES

In his first conference with dumpy, insecure Amy Delatour, student teacher Martin Stone asks her to remove her glasses and let down her hair. In his second, he begins an experiment in amateur hypnotism that pushes Amy deeper into her psychic identification with an Acadian ancestress--who could have been the real life model for Evangeline except that she died brutally by fire before she could return to Nova Scotia with her lover. Amy's possession by the long dead spirit of Marie-Ange is complete right down to a hysterical eruption of burns and blisters and, meanwhile, Martin plays Pygmalion, recruiting a Ph.D. fiancee to chaperone the project, which he calls a psychological experiment. Supernatural doings aside, Seton manages to twist Martin's behavior, outrageous by any standards, into something vaguely titillating. . . and there are other embarrassments, as when Martin's mother injects a speech about her ornery ""Nigra"" maid and another smugly speculates on the ""incomprehension"" this language would cause back north in Harlem. Characters variously experience ""tremulous joy"" or are ""imbued with the joy that breeds universal good will and the wish to share it,"" and in general they risk being smothered under adjectives and adverbs. Best leave the whole smoldering pile to burn itself out.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1975

ISBN: 156976347X

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1975