RITES OF PASSAGE by Jean Rikhoff


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This is the last panel in the triptych of the Trimbles, that reasonably large midwestern, middle class family whose damaged lives have been pursued at considerable length in the earlier Voyage In, Voyage Out and Dear Ones All. On the sundial in one of their homeplaces ""Count None But The Happy Hours"" was inscribed, but as readers (women) of the earlier novels will remember, there are no happy hours-- and the unifying lien between mothers and sisters and daughters and cousins is that they all intelligently know what they want and are only too well aware that they have not found it. The story continues to polarize around the uses and abuses of love: Lois, divorced, is now considering taking her first husband, a drunk, back again; Eileen is in a sanitarium for life which she tries to escape when out temporarily for her mother's funeral; Carolyn, who drank, and was trapped in a joyless marriage, is now involved in a debasing affair; Stu is forced to choose between his son and his own second life-- with another woman, etc. All of them are miserable, caught halfway between self-immolation and supplication, and all of them are very identifiable. The novel takes place in set scenes, and while on the whole more static than the first two, manages to make a travesty of residual tribal totems at a wedding or a funeral... But sympathy predominates, which, coupled with a certain urgency, will reach a readership which is roughly comparable to that of Eileen Bassett or Lael Tucker Wertenbaker. It is strongly emotional in tone and emancipated in point of view.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1966
ISBN: 0595166261
Publisher: Viking