THE SMALL MOSAICS OF MR. AND MRS. ENGEL by Patricia Collinge
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THE SMALL MOSAICS OF MR. AND MRS. ENGEL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The thoroughly disarming Mrs. Engel first appeared in the pages of The New Yorker and these sketches of her trip to Italy with Mr. Engel and her ingenuous, eager, responsiveness to people and places, her easily bruised sensibilities, her sudden, true perceptions are the touchstone here. You will first meet Mrs. Engel at sea, and a boat drill (Mrs. Engel in her life jacket ""looks like a turtle"") leads to uncertain speculations-- or again, in her deck chair, as she surveys the passing passengers. Once in Rome, Mr. Engel has his qualms (the road there- via Naples- had proved him an easy victim of native wares and wiles) and the limited communications, in spite of Mrs. Engel's phrase book vocabulary, lead to their much regretted distrust of a truly willing guide. There is Mr. Engel's refusal to say ""Conto""; a shopping expedition and an audience with the Pope; and the return via Palermo, with its many confusing, distressing, moving scenes which will be- like the mosaics- best understood at a distance, when she reaches home. Several short stories conclude the volume here.... Far more formulated than Evan Connell's Mrs. Bridge -- that book may suggest the wide area of recognition possible-without indicating the humor as well as the wistfulness, the youthfulness of spirit while not of years which makes this a most felicitous experience.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1959
Publisher: Doubleday