LAMENT FOR FOUR VIRGINS by Lael Tucker

LAMENT FOR FOUR VIRGINS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A twenty year span of Georgian small town life reveals the influences the church (or rather its Episcopalian ministers), the matriarchy -- and the community have on four girls --Angela, Ellen Terra, crippled Carrie and nearly accepted Hope. First it is their four-fold passion for the young Mark, which splits their families and drives him from his pulpit as the contests and awards for him in marriage become too pressing: again their combined loyalty and championship for the new rector, saintly, innocent Bob, over his stand about a woman who is known to have murdered her mother, divide the town and their parents -- and their current love interests: and, at the last, their response to their third pastor, flatly unsparing St. John Rand, climaxes their stories and makes of Hope an hypocritically reformed alcoholic, a shamed whore of Ellen Terra, a slime touched wife of Carrie and a scandal-pursued bride of Angela. An unsparing, but not spare, calendaring of lives in a vacuum, this contrasts the softly southern exterior with the dissonant, jarring interior tensions, the conflict of tradition and actuality, the invasion of northern know-how in a sterile, but not Capoted, abnormal and perverse, dissection. A rage to exist -- in more diffuse terms.

Pub Date: July 14th, 1952
Publisher: Random House