NATURAL LIGHT by Ethel Gorham

NATURAL LIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An often touching odyssey of a New York City woman. Her story of love and loss is recalled in flashbacks-from the fiery camaraderie of Thirties' radical politics, and a lifetime love, through the succeeding decades, with their ``new code words, new intransigencies,'' to the present, when she weeps before Washington's Vietnam Memorial. Molly Levin, nÇe Mary Barrett from old-family Massachusetts, daughter of a Dr. Spock-like pediatrician and a Socialist mother who marched for Debs, met dramatically handsome Joe Levin at a Manhattan fund-raiser for Spanish Loyalists, an exuberant gathering of young Communists and idealistic others. But after the watershed shock of the Nazi-Soviet pack and the advent of WW II, Joe, now Molly's husband and father of baby Emily, began his polar turn to the conservative rights. It was during WW II, with Joe in the Air Force, that Molly started her career in photojournalism, which won her a Pulitzer, and after the war the Levins left hard-scrabble living. Wars and the McCarthy era brush and shove by, and then the Levins' children are lost forever- Tommy to death in Vietnam; Emily to a rigid religious orthodoxy in Israel. Now, in musings beside the name of her son on the Vietnam Memorial-Molly has taken a respite from a pro-choice march-Molly remembers lives and their causes and reflects on the plight of talented women of another generation past ``caught in an evolving time,'' and how she and Joe stayed together-simply because ``they cared about each other deeply.'' And in the river of change one can only live in the present moment. A first novel by the author of the nonfiction Love You Abigail...Always Did (1978)-and also an achingly personal tribute to lost times and good people.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-944072-14-3
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991