ALTHEA: (The Divorce of Adam and Eve) by J. M. Alonso

ALTHEA: (The Divorce of Adam and Eve)

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KIRKUS REVIEW

While Alonso's 1970 novel, The Passion of Robert Bronson, was primarily concerned with transcendentalism by proxy, this is an eminently modern examination of the divorce of the subtitle as viewed by recorder/teacher X. J. Muldoon, less present in the earlier book. Muldoon had lived far too long under the influence of his mother-and-a-half, then was partly emancipated by his friend the psychiatrist Mel Fish. He has however his own concept of women as the opposite of people; they may have an anima spirit (note the Jungian as well as Freudian changes throughout). He is also suddenly the victim of UMF, Unseen and Mysterious Forces, first operative when he glimpses the beautiful, billowy Althea (a star patient of Fish) who emanates--Light. When his UMF are not working, he becomes involved with a bored housewife, Norma, who is interchangeable (An her diaries, in his thoughts) with ""Eva,"" but he does not really acknowledge her as the embodiment of his more spiritual aspirations. Althea however falls from grace, killing a man, going off to Australia to lose her Light as a mother/housewife. When she returns in the Sixties which all these experiences in the Fifties have prefigured, her Light returns. Behold she is a Feminist. . . . Alonso's novel with its presiding metaphor is a satiric transverse section of several worlds--sexual, mystical, fantasy--tracing the presence of that other half from Adam to Oedipus and on. It's a demanding, equivocal, regenerative abstraction, but decidedly all there in the contemporary scenes and commentaries. Alonso is a very clever writer even if he has finessed himself out of a readership, especially that bored housewife.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 1976
ISBN: 0595156622
Publisher: Fiction Collective--dist. by Braziller