This can be read as a sly dig at psychiatry, at the operation of rest homes for psychiatric patients, at the gobbledegook...

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HEAVEN AND HARDPAN FARM

This can be read as a sly dig at psychiatry, at the operation of rest homes for psychiatric patients, at the gobbledegook that passes for conversation when people pick up the jargon of their analyst. There is perception but no compassion in the handling of the various types of mental disturbance as she brings her characters into focus through successive conference hours, as the little rotund old psychiatrist (a half-baked medico as she pictures him) makes his rounds. It is a small ""rest home"" handling about ten patients, under the care of one doctor, one nurse (and in the course of the story several nurses come and go), a housekeeper, who thinks all they need is to get out and get busy, and a couple in the kitchen. The farm affords their chief entertainment- with its cows, ducks, chickens; and the near by village (it might be New England) is visited with an almost well patient as chauffeur. The battle is on as the doctor tries to keep his patients in line with his expectations; as they feud with each other- or try to conform to his chance dropped comments; as they contact their families through letters and visits. One gets on almost familiar terms with their dreams and their traumas. But the thread of story is tenuous, with the only progression the following of the ups and downs and ups again of the patients. It certainly is an off beat book for Nancy Hale.

Pub Date: April 26, 1957

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1957