HOUSEHOLD GHOSTS by James Kennaway


Email this review


The author of Tunes of Glory (Harper) skillfully explores with fine intelligence and subtle sensibility the doomed relationship between a man and a woman. Mary Ferguson Cameron's identity is complicated by the actualities of her past and by her own distortion of it: her father resigned from his regiment supposedly for cheating at cards and her mother drank, according to Mary, to escape the sordid memories of her Dundee tenement childhood. Mary is married to Stephen Cameron, an honorable and correct man if an ineffectual husband, and it is from her brother ""Pink"", a charming failure in his own way, that Mary draws hysterical support. There are too many ghosts, in Mary's background and in her unresolved conception of herself, for her affair with David Dow, who is unwilling to commit himself straightforwardly, to succeed, and the results are destructive. After her father's death and the beginning of her brother's disintegration, Mary- pregnant with another man's child, returns to Stephen, prepared to live out her life with ""horrible country grace"", leaving David Dow with the knowledge of his own failures and fears. The primary characteristic of the novel is Kennaway's persistence in probing the emotional and intellectual complications of these Highlanders' lives; he creates no memorable character like the hero of the earlier novel.

Publisher: Atheneum