COMING TO by Alan Brody


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An eminently readable first novel which is fully in command of one's sympathy from the first chapter when Sheila Gaynor, a suicide, is brought back -- not so much to the world which was too much with her (a husband, Phil, whom she truly loves, and a child), but rather to herself. This realization comes gradually through the weeks to follow for even though she knew she had not been coping (dishes unwashed; decisions unmade) before the episode, she now -- with a new sureness and definition -- is aware of what she had really forfeited during the years of her marriage -- her own desire to become a lawyer (Phil is just about through law school). At first the novel takes care of the edgy time of transition at home where she questions whether she's really all right in between cigarettes and games of solitaire, and where Phil, tired and anxious, becomes irritable on occasion. But then it gets down to the emotional lesions, tacit evasions and unacknowledged values (with not a word about rights) in any relationship. The real differences between Sheila (bright, astute) and Phil (tentative if rigid) become still more apparent during two scenes with their families -- with her whole mishpocheh in New Jersey at Thanksgiving, and with his only too well-bred enclave in Connecticut at Christmas. At this juncture a decision is almost reached -- Phil wants to return there to practice, Sheila refuses the restrictive impositions of that life. Coming To, then, is more than a question of coming back -- it touches a good many home bases with a verbatim honesty and a touchy immediacy.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1974
Publisher: Putnam