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Anya ""didn't really admit she was in Iowa. Iowa was the park near her theater. . . . But Mac was really in Iowa."" A year spent on a theater commune in the Midwest forms the frame for this thoughtful portrait of a contemporary ""American romance."" Anya, an articulate and aggressive grad school dropout, is the group's director; Mac, a Canadian engineer with a mastery of woods lore and the homely arts, builds the sets. At first Anya seems bitchy beyond human tolerance and Mac seems dense and bear-like--but as their personalities take clearer shape in the slow unfolding of mundane events, they become more appealing and worthier of serious attention. Mac gets involved with local people and the land, working for a neighboring farmer; Anya, constantly observing the behavior of other group members and noting how it can be used in her plays, eventually makes a film about the tough, waif-like girl who comes to live with them. What plot there is hinges on the resolutions Mac and Anya are moving towards--in their relationship to each other, their life's work, and nature. Casey's concern with personal growth often downplays circumstance; when something critical happens--a troupe member's child is killed in a fire--the event lacks resonance. And, like Anya, Casey has a tendency to ""gather [his] thoughts into essays."" But he is definitely a writer to watch.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1977
Publisher: Atheneum