DOMESTIC PARTICULARS: A Family Chronicle by Frederick Busch


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These twelve slabs of interfamilial misery begin in 1919, when, as Claire remembers, ""I had something terrible in my eye."" In 1939, her husband Mac is on a mountain trail (""It spoke mainly of death"") in order to rise above the ""mud"" of human relationships, among them his marriage to Claire and impending fatherhood. In 1953 Claire, Mac, and theft boy Harry are in the thick of the bleak dialogue which will continue until the last entry in 1976. The focus is on no focus--""Do you forgive me?/ ""For what?""/ ""I don't know what."" Through the years the three wretched ones try to grasp and hold each other's shadows. Mac casts wildly about for Harry on the lad's graduation day: ""I'm not trying to get anything across. Because I don't know what I want you to know."" And so it goes, until Harry returns to face his mother after Mac's death for a final reprise of the No Exit polka. With teletype dialogue which records stress unending, this is very enervating.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1976
Publisher: New Directions