OBLIVION by Josephine Hart


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 An odd, maudlin mix from the much-ballyhooed author of Damage (1991) and Sin (1992): What begins as another taut, obsessive novel of passion gets bogged down by a series of monologues performed by a cast ofdecidedly ungratefuldead characters. Andrew Bolton, a 30-ish television commentator in London, can't stop grieving for his young, beloved wife, Laura, who has been dead for just over a year. He has recently began a new relationship with Sarah, a woman who works at the TV studio, but it is Laura who still consumes his every thought. It happens that Laura's bereaved mother is also fixated by thoughts of her lost daughter, and when Andrew is given the opportunity to read his mother-in-law's diary, he learns just how deep and dangerous her obsession really is: She's been stalking Andrew and Sarah. This is promising chiller material, but Hart chooses to take the novel in a different direction. Andrew, it turns out, has scheduled a TV interview with a noted playwright named Catherine Samuelson, and so he sits in on a reading of her newest production, a lament of dead characters who are fighting ``oblivionwhen we are forgotten'' (a lament that takes up some 60 pages of this slim novel). Andrew's encounter with Catherine Samuelson includes a few words of hackneyed counsel (``Happiness is a decision. Make it. And don't cry'') that somehow set him on the right course to get on with his life. The potentially explosive situation with his mother-in-law ends with a whimper. And as for Laura? Well, it looks like obliviona fate that's preferable to sticking around in this mawkish and pretentious storyline. . Initially intriguing, but finally deadening. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1995
ISBN: 0-670-86612-1
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1995


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