SCHOOL FOR PAGAN LOVERS by Edmund Keeley

SCHOOL FOR PAGAN LOVERS

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 This seventh novel from Keeley (A Wilderness Called Peace, 1985, etc.), a well-known translator of modern Greek poetry, tells of young lovers crossed by war and fate--a story more enervating than erotic, despite all the lengthy and explicit sex scenes. The setting is late-1930's Salonika, where an American family with an exquisite sense of bad timing has relocated. While the father heads up a division of an American-sponsored vocational school, the two sons, Hal and Sam, make friends with the locals. The elder, 16-year-old Hal, is enrolled in the city's German school, supposedly the best but increasingly dominated by Nazi propaganda. He also knows very little German, which doesn't help his grades, so his parents ask high-school senior Magda Sevillas, the stunningly beautiful daughter of a Jewish father and a Greek mother, to tutor him. Hal is soon head over heels, of course, and on an end-of-the-year-treat--a visit to a local secluded beach--he confesses his love, and Magda is not exactly discouraging. But when her father insists she marry an older man, Magda, who wants to go to the university, runs away to a small island, where Hal finds her hiding in the home of a White Russian healer and nurse. Hal moves in, and the two are soon lovers. But paradise is always on loan; the lovers realize that they must return to the mainland. There, their plans are thwarted by a dog that attacks and badly wounds Magda. She has to go home, as does Hal, who (with war imminent) is packed off to the US. After the war, the two meet again in Athens, where Hal finally begins to understand that all that was left for them was the past they'd had together. Disappointingly lifeless love story that pushes all the right buttons but makes no music.

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 1993
ISBN: 0-8135-1935-7
Page count: 302pp
Publisher: Rutgers Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993




MORE BY EDMUND KEELEY

FictionSOME WINE FOR REMEMBRANCE by Edmund Keeley
by Edmund Keeley
NonfictionINVENTING PARADISE by Edmund Keeley
by Edmund Keeley