In roughly the same meandering mix of sentiment and cunning observation as in The Inland Island (1968), Miss Johnson...

READ REVIEW

SEVEN HOUSES: A Memoir of Time and Places

In roughly the same meandering mix of sentiment and cunning observation as in The Inland Island (1968), Miss Johnson journeys back to the houses where she once lived -- in childhood and the first one she and her husband owned. Inevitably the backward glance becomes a search -- for people, places and one's own past awarenesses, ""a trail that can only be described as lurching."" Memories waver between childsized (essentially outsized) and adult assessments: ""I became a nice child. . .a rather stout slow child. . .Bomb-shaped but slow burning, long-fused."" She sheds a kindly-to-astringent light on her family and events but above all landscapes, both interior and outdoors. ""Memories of people move about too much. . .But the dew on the grass. . . -- that stays."" The author writes of meadows and trees, a big drafty hall with a stairway of sun motes, games of hide-and-seek through the many chambers and halls. And there are views of creatures -- a huge settlement of bats, the bizarre movement of insects, cats that sprawl with their ""feet over the edge of things."" A memoir which stops and starts, occasionally spins its wheels but which is powered by a serious, honorable intent.

Pub Date: March 1, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1973