THE TREES AND FIELDS WENT THE OTHER WAY by Evelyn Eaton

THE TREES AND FIELDS WENT THE OTHER WAY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

All my irrelevant childhood I waswatching for signals, picking up sounds. . . listening for news from There, from the Other, marching my elders' faces for signs of recognition, of direction to the Source."" Thus Miss Eaton -- best known for Quietly My Captain Waits and other historical novels during the '40's boom, less well known for some good lyric poetry and more serious efforts. She is, in these memoirs, alternately mystical, witty, and caustically tetchy about being and feeling alien most of her life. She ridicules the stiff proprieties of her Canadian but Anglophilic family (her father was a Captain in the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery); the oppressive hypocrisy of her British public school (where she comforted the sobbing young Princess Marie of Roumania whom the Prince of Wales had referred to as a ""tank""); and ruefully disdains those who did not recognize the ""hermit thrush"" within the schoolgirl. Poverty, a disastrous Paris marriage and a child brought her to relatives in Nova Scotia and finally New York, a friendly literary agent and a writing career. Wars (her father was killed in the first; she saw W.W. II briefly as a correspondent) and the many ""splashdowns"" (turning points) of her life lead her to the contemplative promise of a High Church convent -- but was she seeking God or simply peace? Some might interpret a life's search for ""innocence"" and ""sensitivity"" as reflecting a writer's terror of creative drought, but whatever moved this energetic caravan of delightful, stimulating, occasionally self-indulgent souvenirs, it's still a journey worth sharing.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1974
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich