A PLACE OF STONE by Jim Hunter


Email this review


A young Englishman's third novel introduces him to an American audience for the first time in a subdued, but at times painfully precise, reconnaissance of human relationships within one family, and the uneasy estrangement between a man and a wife which persists even in the imminence of death. Bill Stock, an artist, and his wife, Freda, as acknowledged by their now grown children, simply ""don't quite fit""; Bill's life has been one of rather muffled failure; Freda's last years have consisted of empty days in an empty house, and now she is dying of cancer. While Bill's feelings for her reduce to little more than a ""frosty sort of loyalty"", he is anxious that these last months be as comforting as possible; they take a house for a few weeks in Brittany and their son Tony, closest to his mother, and daughter, Sheila, join them. But there is very little communication between any of them- even Tony and his mother-- Tony runs off to Paris. Shortly thereafter Freda dies alone (an accident?), and Bill must not only face his grief (not for her death but for the life he had with him) but his own rejection of the world... The backgrounds here of the ors and the sea, predominantly in shades of grey, are consonant with the mood so ell established even though limited to the minority market. Mr. Hunter writes with discernible taste and talent.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1964
Publisher: Pantheon