EYES by Janet Burroway


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Eyes, Miss Burroway's always discerning novel, has a good deal to say about seeing--whether externally, concretely and clinically (since one of her central characters is an eye doctor) or of course in the broader sense. Essentially she is concerned with the ideas and issues which cross our field of vision and since the scene here is the South, guessably one of them is race prejudice. The whole novel takes place within a day and is primarily involved with four people: Angus Rugg, who starts the day with the verdict that he has not long to live, and who ends it pilloried because of some wartime experimental operations on prisoners of war in an attempt to develop a technique which will save sight. Angus is a very self-contained man with a quiet heroism, translated by his son Hilary into contempt. Then there's Angus' wife, Maeve, about to have a baby after twenty years. And finally Jadeen whom Hilary is going to marry and whom he has inculcated with the hope of fighting discrimination. Her first step is to refuse to teach from a racist text book. But before long she realizes that her way of seeing the same thing now has alienated them, while Angus helps her to understand there can be no simple, arbitrary, self-evident truths....Miss Burroway is just as competent in fingering the shades of feeling beteeen people as she is in isolating ideas, and her story which has a considerable dramatic momentum in itself, is handled with sympathetic intelligence. It's good.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1966
Publisher: Little, Brown