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Actress Anne Baxter tells the story of her second marriage to American Ran Gait, with whom she pioneered in Australia before their differences in experience and temperament forced a break in what had been a happy union. This is mainly a chronicle of her half rueful, half determined attempts to cope with ""one blast of an adjustment to a twenty-three room tinhatted shack in the Australian bush."" But rugged living, the demands of raising three daughters (one by John Hodiak, two others by Gait), loneliness in the man's world of ranching, the pull of her profession, and Ran's long absences--all resulted in a losing struggle to ""softpedal myself into Sweet Little Bush Country Wife [with a] booming bowling alley in my head."" Yet the ranch, ""Giro,"" that ""arrogantly beautiful place"" offered moments of exhilarating freedom and happiness. As a portrait of a marriage this suffers from perceiving Ran through a scrim of sentimentalized machismo; and in general Miss Baxter tends toward emotive overkill: ""I'd search along my tattered shore for shells whose curling stairs were strewn with laughter we might share. . . ."" However, the Hollywood anecdotes are ripe and witchy, and even in Baxter's Kalmus colors, Australian exotica exerts its pull.

Pub Date: July 13th, 1976
Publisher: Putnam