MIRRORS by Ken Edgar


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Middle-aged identity crisis abounding--when small-college English prof Jonothan Woody is invited to guest-lecture on Yeats at Bloomington, the academic big-time and, coincidentally, Jonothan's home town. Also coincidentally (much too coincidentally), the university has rented a house for him to stay in, the very house he grew up in: ""What an experience-returning to your childhood home!"" All this naturally generates a non-stop parade of flashbacks for not-very-happily marlied Jonothan: boyhood chums, his father's death (World War II), his mother's death, his brother's birth (sibling rivalry) and death (Vietnam). But mostly the flashbacks are about red-haired Louise, who initiated Jonothan into sex at 13 and was his favorite lady thereafter--right along through her, and his, first marriages (Jon had to marry his pregnant college sweetheart). Then, lo) and behold, back in the present, Louise reappears in the flesh at an old school buddy's funeral; she's 50 but gorgeous, and Jonothan and Louise have one last fling that apparently exorcises her and allows him to return, presumably happily, to his wife and teenage sons. There's a certain awkward sincerity here, but the psychology is crudely injected, as are fragments of poetry--Yeats, Roethke, and Auden, as well as Jonothan's own efforts (supposedly acclaimed, actually awful). More crucially, despite much reference to Paul Newman-like eyes and such, lonothan remains faceless and unsympathetic--really just a thin case study without the warm-blooded touches needed to distinguish it from the male-menopause clichÉ.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Methuen