The Masquerade. . . or, how each member of the family reacts when their lawyer Daddy is arrested for embezzlement. He waits...

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THE MASQUERADE

The Masquerade. . . or, how each member of the family reacts when their lawyer Daddy is arrested for embezzlement. He waits in jail for his trial, unwilling to face the family. The fragile mother, brought up in privilege and dependent for her self-image on a large house and silver, spends the summer in a mental hospital after the family moves to an apartment above a store. Medical student Eric, encouraged by a female medical student who thrives on his dependency, becomes more and more incapacitated by his imaginary ailments. A teenage sister runs off to a dance career and returns, demoralized. A younger sister clutches Rebecca. And the reliable Rebecca, 18, insists on her father's innocence until he pleads guilty. Then, in her mild way, she snaps, staying out till all hours with a boy from a ""bad"" crowd, but keeping him at fingertips' length. This behavior, which ends when Rebecca is able (as Eric puts it) ""to forgive an ordinary man who made a big mistake,"" is so mild that it seems overplayed here. Otherwise this, like Shreve's more intense Loveletters (1978), reads better than the ideas behind it--thanks partly to Rebecca's own strengths, partly to the ""sharp conversation"" which, as Rebecca sees, the family uses ""to protect their sensibilities.

Pub Date: April 1, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1980