by Tim Wilson ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 18, 1998
Lukewarm, relentlessly chatty, character-driven woman-in-periler that simultaneously examines the sexuality of nurturing and the lingering effects of childhood trauma. On the first day of her career as a public-school teacher, Carol Halstead finds herself fixating on one pupil, eight-year-old Ben Yeomans. There's something inexplicably familiar about the youngster. Could he also be inspiring her states of momentary paralysis and evenings of dark Freudian nightmares? Carol's longtime therapist, Dr. Kaufman, assures her that, even though the hideous torture-murder of her parents (which Carol witnessed through a peephole when she herself was eight), is now fifteen years in the past, the subconscious still relates elements of her waking world to it, especially because the killers--a group of four teenagers--were never caught. Carol hasn't had the necessary closure to get on with her life. Or perhaps her dreams are due more to the fact that she, as her parents' sole heir, has been asked recently to sign the paperwork that will finally sell the house where the ghastly crime took place. But these and other coincidences, when added to an almost overwhelming celebration of the tedium of British parent-teacher relationships and the monotonous charm of the British suburbs, fail to deliver a sense of menace sufficient for such a tale. Almost 150 pages are needed for Carol to guess (wrongly?) that Ben's father Geoff may have been one of the perps. When Geoffdies an apparent suicide, English writer Wilson's fourth novel (but first to appear here) finally come to a boil as Carol's decision to make a symbolic confrontation with the horror in her past drives her into a killer's clutches. A peculiar and only intermittently successful blend of Freudian intellectualism and cuddly British family fun.
Pub Date: June 18, 1998
Page Count: 256
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1998
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